Ripon's amazing community spirit leads the way again with celebrations for UCI Road World Championships

Pictured from left: Jan Hymas, Hazel Barker, Stuart Martin, Dorothy Morland and Carol Dunkley. Picture: Gerard Binks.
Pictured from left: Jan Hymas, Hazel Barker, Stuart Martin, Dorothy Morland and Carol Dunkley. Picture: Gerard Binks.

Ripon’s amazing community spirit strikes again - brightly coloured bunting displaying thousands of knitted cycling jerseys has started to go up all over the city to welcome the UCI Road World Championships next month.

A year on from Ripon’s incredible efforts to commemorate the Armistice, where residents stepped up to knit more than 55,000 poppies, the knitting needles have been well and truly out again to celebrate the global cycling event coming to the city.

The project has been gathering momentum over the course of many months, with dozens of community groups, businesses and individual residents all knitting away to produce nearly 4,000 jerseys, spearheaded by the Ripon Community Poppy Project.

Stuart Martin, who coordinates the project alongside Hazel Barker, said: “We want to get the message out there that Ripon welcomes everybody from all around the world, and that we very much want them to come and see what Ripon has to offer.

“We hope that, like the poppy project, this increases footfall in Ripon, and that people who haven’t visited before, go away thinking that they’d love to come back, and that it’s a nice place.”

From the Market Square to Kirkgate, and around the bus station, the mini jerseys have already been catching the eyes of visitors since they went up on Monday.

The knitting efforts by residents have been fondly labelled by some as ‘the poppy effect,’ as the legacy of last year’s Armistice commemorations continues to blossom.

Stuart said: “Once again, there has been a fantastic response from the community, it’s been incredible. It is so gratifying to see that all of the hard work put in over the last year has paid off, and has all been worth it.

“To see the community coming together again like this is amazing, I would like to thank everybody who has taken the time to help.”

There has even been talk amongst residents of Ripon becoming known as ‘the knitting capital of the UK’ if the city continues to pull off projects like this.

Speaking about what has driven Ripon to knit again for a second year, Stuart said: “It’s the community spirit, everybody enjoyed being a part of it last year, and a lot of people said, ‘what can we do next?’

It’s been about more than just the poppies and jerseys themselves - the social aspect of it, meeting up and knitting, has really given people a boost. It’s helped to tackle isolation, and people have made friends through it.”

How you can get involved and embrace the cycle fever

It’s not too late to get involved and knit jerseys to celebrate the arrival of the UCI Road World Championships in Ripon. Any knitted jerseys can be dropped off at The Wakeman’s House Cafe or Moonglu cycle shop on Blossomgate.

To see knitting patterns for the rainbow cycling jerseys, and to find out more about how to make them, visit the Moonglu cycle shop website: www.moonglu.com/blogs/moonglu