Famous Tour jerseys transformed into charity blankets

Volunteer knitter and stitcher Pam Oswin, Harrogate Borough Council's Parks Development Officer Kate Dawson, Volunteer knitter and stitcher John Freer and Horticultural Officer Sue Wood.
Volunteer knitter and stitcher Pam Oswin, Harrogate Borough Council's Parks Development Officer Kate Dawson, Volunteer knitter and stitcher John Freer and Horticultural Officer Sue Wood.
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Thousands of knitted jerseys celebrating the arrival of the Tour de France in Harrogate are being given a new lease of life.

Washed and dried, the mini yellow, green, and spotted jerseys used as bunting in the town during the Yorkshire Grand Départ are being turned into blankets for charity.

Visitors to the knitting and stitching show, which is at Harrogate International Centre until November 23, 2014, will see a team of volunteers creating the blankets.

When complete, these will be sold to raise funds for a number of charities, including Oxfam and the Carers’ Resource.

Harrogate Borough Council’s cabinet member for environment, transport, and external affairs Coun Phil Ireland (Con) said: “When we began the ‘Le Tour de Bunting’ project we had no idea that it would seize the imagination of so many people around the world.

“The district looked absolutely amazing with the colourful jerseys hung around the towns and villages. They certainly added to the magnificent spectacle which has become known as the grandest Grand Départ - the best in the entire history of the Tour.

“There has been much talk of the legacy of the tour and I look forward to seeing how cycling develops in the district in the future. I am pleased to say that these knitted jerseys will have their own legacy, helping to raise much needed funds for a number of charities.

“It is fitting that we return to the knitting and stitching show this year to create these blankets as it was the event where we launched the project twelve months ago. On behalf of the council, I would like to thank everyone who knitted the jerseys for the bunting - little did they know that their hard work would have such a long lasting impact.

“We are also grateful to the knitting and stitching show for providing us with the opportunity to display these fabulous blankets to the public.”

The idea to use the jerseys as bunting was originally dreamt up by University of York students and Harrogate Borough Council’s park team who led the project asked for 3,000 to create the display.

They were, however, overwhelmed by the response with more than 23,500 jerseys being made to decorate the district during stages one and two of the race, with contributions sent from across Europe, Canada, New Zealand, and Bermuda.

The bunting remained in place until September when it was taken down and washed ready to be stitched into blankets.

The blankets will be on sale in Oxfam shops in Harrogate, Knaresborough, and Ripon.