Up to 8,000 knitted jerseys could adorn Harrogate during the Tour de France.
A pile of 3,000 completed jerseys is lying in the town, ready to be set up as bunting, but organisers of the ‘Tour de Bunting’ hope those who have pledged a further 5,000 jerseys from all over the world will send their creations in by March.
The jerseys, which will be used to decorate the Harrogate district when le Tour comes to town on July 5 and 6, have been knitted by enthusiasts and cycling fans the world over.
Harrogate Borough Council’s Parks Team initially asked for 3,000 jerseys as a symbol for the Yorkshire Grand Départ - the first yellow jersey of the 2014 race will be awarded on Harrogate’s West Park.
However, the response has smashed this target, and the authority is now making one final call for fans to pick up their yarn to be part of le Tour.
Coun Pat Jones, Cabinet Member for Culture, Tourism and Sports, wants to thank everyone who has taken up their knitting needles to respond to the challenge.
She said: “We have had bags, boxes and bundles of knitted jerseys delivered over the past few months – so far more than 3,000 have arrived.
“Pledges have come from as far afield as Austria, Bermuda, Canada, France, the Netherlands and Switzerland as well as all around our own country.
“Pledges have also come from the Isle of Man.
“The Manx Heritage Quilters and Knitting Group are personalising theirs with the Three Legs of Man, their national emblem. Not only is 5 July National Manx Day, but Mark Cavendish and Peter Kennaugh raced in the Isle of Man RL360 youth cycling team.
“More than forty ladies from the group are coming to Harrogate for the Tour weekend and no doubt their cheers will be the loudest at the stage 1 finishing line in Harrogate.”
Patrick Kilburn, the council’s Head of Parks and Open Spaces, also adds his thanks.
“This has been led by my team but the original idea was worked up with students from York University and the pattern was created for us by the owners of Baa Ram Ewe knitting business on Cold Bath Road in Harrogate.
“We wanted this to be something the community could get involved with to celebrate our hosting the Tour but the great knock on effect has been the boom in business for those selling knitting wool.
“We don’t mind whether people send us one jersey or a box full – the most we know one person has knitted is 89 so far.
“We have a good mix of the green, white and yellow jerseys but we could do with a few more of the King of the Mountain red dotted jerseys.”
Anyone interested in helping can find details at www.harrogate.gov.uk/letourdebunting which includes the knitting and crochet patterns and drop off points.