Volunteers across North Yorkshire have been selected as official Tour Makers, tasked with welcoming thousands of visitors to the county during the Grand Départ in July.
Official applications have been completed and almost 12,000 people have been named as successful applicants and will become a Tour Maker.
The Tour Maker project is a first in the history of the Tour de France’s Grand Départs.
The next step for volunteers is to complete an online event training module before attending the motivational training and uniform collection days in May and June.
Tour Maker Heather Smith, 47, from Wetherby, said: “I am so excited about this opportunity and I’m hoping to be a flag marshal so my friends and family might see me on TV! I am very much into cycling and cycle myself – I’m hoping to do the Brownlee Triathlon later this year so busy training at the moment. I’ve only ever seen the Tour on the TV so to be part of making it happen will be great.”
Harrogate Tour Maker Amaan Sadiq, 18, is volunteering alongside his family members and said: “I’m really pleased to be selected as I like to give back to the community, so it promises to be really good.
“I’m really into sports like football, badminton and squash, so hopefully after the event cycling’s next on the list! It’s going to be so exciting – instead of watching it on TV, I’ll be part of it.”
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: “The response since day one to the Tour Maker project has been unbelievable, with so many people wanting to be directly involved with this historic event. This project is now becoming a reality – and whatever role a Tour Maker plays wherever that is, they can say for years to come ‘I was there and I helped make it happen’.”
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 amd former Harrogate Grammar School pupil said: “I’m delighted that we now have our 12,000 Tour Makers for Stages 1, 2 and 3.
“The team look forward to working with them and getting to know them over the next few months as they go through the training process.
“The standard of applications was incredibly high, and I know that come July we will have a team of incredible, talented Tour Makers ready to welcome the world to the Tour de France in the UK.”
Tour Makers from across Yorkshire
Miss Elena Perousse, 21, from France and studying tourism at Sheffield Hallam University, said: “I am really excited because I am French and my dad’s been a cyclist all his life – he used to be semi pro – and I grew up with the Tour de France so it’s really great to be involved. I cycle for fun myself, but I’ve seen the Tour every year on TV for the last 10 years and been to the last three or four final stages in Paris, so I know first-hand how massive it is. Now, to be part of it to make it happen, is just perfect.”
Vijay Dayalji, 28, from Bradford, said: “I thought it was amazing when I found out – I was completely shocked and really excited to be a part of it. I’m looking forward to meeting people, seeing the riders zoom past and being part of the atmosphere and the buzz.”
Mrs Flora Marriott, 45, from Holderness, East Yorkshire, is a member of one of Yorkshire’s first women’s only cycling clubs, Sunday Girls Roadclub in Hull. She said: “I got into cycling because last year I walked from Land’s End to John O’Groats and cycling was the next step after having sore feet! The Olympics inspired me to do something big and challenge myself – something to remember when I’m in my rocking chair. Becoming a Tour Maker is just the same, a real memorable experience. I liked the idea of putting something back into the county that’s given me so much. As a teenager I used to record it on the old VHS tapes, so to actually be part of will be incredible.”
Mr Alex Riley, 21, from Barnsley, said: “It’s actually really exciting because the Tour de France is such a big event and I watch it every year on TV. Being a Tour Maker will be a really good experience, especially with the Tour being so close to home, so it’s great to get involved.”