Local MPs Andrew Jones and Julian Smith joined forces with Communities Secretary, Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP, to herald the final 100 days of preparations for Le Tour de France’s visit to Yorkshire. And with them was Knaresborough’s very own Le Tour mascot – a yellow bike called Frances.
The Grand Depart will deliver an economic boost to the region of an estimated £100 million and Yorkshire will be featured on TV screens across the world. Andrew and Julian have been updating the Communities Secretary on the progress towards the launch of Le Grand Depart on Saturday 5 July.
Mr Jones said: From discussions with both Harrogate Council and North Yorkshire Council I am pleased to say we are well on track to deliver a show-stopper to the world. Communities are coming good with Le Tour themed events and businesses are getting in on the action too.
Harrogate Borough Council is running a workshop for businesses on 1 April at the Pavilions in Harrogate. The Council is coordinating community activities which include 2 weeks of Le Tour themed events in Ripley, among many other events Knaresborough is creating a song for ‘Le Tour Knaresborough’ and Knaresborough Women’s Institute are holding ‘Le Tour Grand Baking Competition’. Harrogate Theatre are running a series of cycle-themed performances including performances of Lost Boy Racer in the week of Le Grand Depart.
Mr Jones continued: We must not lose sight of the fact that although Le Grand Depart leaves Yorkshire on 6 July the legacy of Le Tour needs to continue far beyond that date. I want to see properly signed cycle routes, a downloadable cycle map, cycling education in schools and better promotion of the ‘Bike and Go’ scheme at Harrogate Station.
I am certain that Le Grand Depart will be a great success and I pay tribute to all those who are working on it to such great effect. For Le Tour’s visit to our area to be considered a complete success we need to ensure that those two days in July have an effect which ripples through our communities for years to come.
Following her trip to Westminster to see the Communities Minister, Frances will be returning to Knaresborough at the weekend..