Tour Makers took centre stage at the Leeds Arena at the first major event for the volunteers who will welcome millions of visitors to the Tour de France in the UK this July.
The event in Leeds at the weekend was a key milestone in the Tour Makers’ volunteer journey and provided the first significant insight into the roles and responsibilities they will undertake when the Tour begins in July.
The event was designed to inform and motivate the thousands of men and women, the pioneers of a Tour de France volunteer programme, to help them to prepare for their involvement in the Yorkshire Grand Départ and the Tour de France journey through England to London.
The aim was to give Tour Makers the chance to meet other volunteers and give them an overview of Race Day and what to expect at the world’s largest annual sporting event. Tour Makers were entertained by a live show featuring motivational presentations from Tour legend Brian Robinson, Olympic gold medallist Nicola Adams, Gary Verity and Nicky Roche.
It was capped off by a rousing live performance by Alistair Griffin of The Road – the official anthem of Yorkshire’s Grand Départ, which will be available from June 30.
Tour Makers have already been offered Race Day roles and locations. The next step will be for them to attend a training session in June. The training in June will be role-specific, to ensure the Tour Makers are fully prepared to undertake their assigned responsibilities in July. Tour Makers will then collect their uniforms after their training session.
Tour Maker AiLyn Tan, 43, said: Now it’s just weeks to go the excitement is really building and we can’t wait to get started. There’s a real buzz and sense of anticipation around the whole county and it’s going to be a weekend to remember for every Tour Maker involved.
Leeds-based supermarket Asda has teamed-up with the project to help recruit the Tour Makers and provide every Tour Maker with a uniform designed by their George brand.
Richard Mason, Asda’s Tour Maker Project Manager, said: It’s been such an honour for Asda to be supporting with the training and recruitment of the Tour Makers in such an iconic sporting event that’s on our doorstep. We’ve a great bunch of enthusiastic and excited Tour Makers that are going to play a major role in the event and I’m sure they will give visitors to the region a great Yorkshire welcome.
Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, the agency who led the winning bid to bring the Tour de France to Yorkshire and devised the Tour Maker idea, said: It was really incredible to see so many Tour Makers all together for the first time under one roof.
The excitement and enthusiasm they all have for the Grand Départ is just brilliant and there’s no better group of people to welcome our millions of visitors than our Tour Makers.
Tour Maker roles include Wayfinders at transport hubs, Route Marshals, Flag Marshals and Crossing Marshals along the route. Volunteers will be allocated roles by the TdFHub2014Ltd who are delivering the Tour Maker programme.
Nicky Roche, chief executive of TdFHUB2014 Ltd which is managing the Tour Makers, said: The event marked yet another important stage in Tour de France preparations.
The Tour Makers will provide the glue that sticks many months of planning together on Race Day. It was great to get so many of them together to celebrate their involvement ahead of the Grand Départ. Following on from the online training modules, the Orientation event was the next step in the Tour Maker training process.
In approaching the training process in a number of different ways we hope the Tour Makers will have an enjoyable yet informative build up to their own Race Day experience.
We are confident the Tour Makers will be fully prepared for the event itself and have no doubt that they will make an invaluable contribution to the success of the three Tour de France Stages in the UK.
A similar event is taking place in London at the Copper Box arena on 1 June 2014.
The Tour Makers will be the volunteer force that will welcome millions of visitors when the Tour de France Grand Départ begins in and races around Yorkshire for two days and a third stage from Cambridge to London.
Grand Départ of the Tour de France takes place in Yorkshire on the weekend of the 5th and the 6th July. Stage 1 races from Leeds to Harrogate via the Yorkshire Dales National Park and Stage 2 races from York to Sheffield via Pennine Yorkshire and the Peak District National Park.
A third stage also takes place on the 7th July racing from the cycling city of Cambridge to historic heart of London before it returns to northern France.
For more on Yorkshire’s Grand Départ and stage three see www.letouryorkshire.com