How Harrogate church got key role in UCI cycling championships

Church's key role in UCI championships - The team at the West Park United Reformed Church in Harrogate.
Church's key role in UCI championships - The team at the West Park United Reformed Church in Harrogate.

Excitement is beginning to build in Harrogate as the arrival date for the UCI Road World Championships draws nearer - even a historic Harrogate church is getting in on the act.

Located perfectly next to the finish line on West Park on the UCIs race circuit in Harrogate which is where each day’s race will eventually end, West Park United Reformed Church is looking forward to being the official base for post-race press conferences.

It was an opportunity too good to spurn for the church which has been looking for ways to create a new role in the community and raise funds.

Andy Hindley, chief executive of organisers Yorkshire 2019, said it was an exciting to link up.
Mr Hindley said: “Partnerships with local organisations are a key part of delivering the UCI Road World Championships in September.
“Yorkshire 2019 is delighted to be working with the West Park United Reformed Church and we are very pleased to be able to assist with their fundraising efforts.”

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Brian Goldthorpe, a member of West Park Steering Group, explained how this wonderful opportunity came about.

And he said the church was hoping to utilise further on this prime location to boost its fund-raising efforts to retain the building for the good of the community.

Mr Goldthorpe said: “When the UCI Yorkshire 2019 was announced we approached the organisers and asked how the building might be of use, given that all the races will finish immediately in front of the church.
“Whilst the main press centre in Harrogate Convention Centre, it was felt preferable to have a site where post-race press conferences could be held without the problem of getting competitors back to the convention centre.
“West Park was found to suit their needs perfectly and subsequently chosen and UCI will be making a generous donation to West Park Church for its use.
“The land in front of the church which many assume is council owned but in fact is not, is being made available to any local businesses who would like to have a presence close to the finishing line.
“We would particularly like to work with businesses who feel their location means that they would not ordinarily benefit from the event.”

TV’s Calendar team have already come to West Park Church to film a news item on its role in the world’s greatest road cycling event.


And another Harrogate church is also deeply involved in the UCIs.

Wesley Centre on Oxford Street will act as the volunteer hub.
Sponsored by Yorkshire Team, which is produced by Harrogate firm Taylors, the volunteers, or Yorkshire Team members as they will be known, will take up a diverse range of roles from interpreters to marshals along the routes.

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