Tour racing ahead to Calderdale

Richard Palliser with giant Yorkshire Rose on his house.
Richard Palliser with giant Yorkshire Rose on his house.

The wheels are in motion for another cycling spectacular in Calderdale with the Tour de Yorkshire set to roll into the region on Sunday.

A number of public events will take place along the route aiming to attract the expected influx of visitors.

Around one million people are expected to watch the race in Yorkshire, which starts today in Bridlington, with the region set to receive an economic boost of £1m from the event.

A procession of big-name riders including Sir Bradley Wiggins and Marcel Kittel will take to Calderdale’s roads on May 3, going from Ripponden through Cragg Vale and on to Hebden Bridge.

Ripponden Gala has been moved to Sunday from its usual Bank Holiday Monday slot to coincide with the Tour and takes place between 11am and 4pm.

Veca Wilson, who helped organise the event with Geraldine Carter, said: “I’d like to thank everyone who has helped organise the gala, including mine and Geraldine’s husbands and all our families.

“We’re using the race as the bike parade this year and we’ll have big screens showing the race.

“We’ll have everything from train rides and donkey rides to fairground rides.

“It’s very exciting to have the race here and it’s great for the village.

“It’s normally very busy but hopefully we’ll get a nice steady flow of people and any extra visitors to see the Tour de Yorkshire like the village.”

A yellow bike has been installed outside Stones Methodist Church to welcome the Tour when it rides by.

The bike was formerly outside Rishworth School during last summer’s Tour de France.

The church will be hosting a special family fun day where the race will be screened.

Organisers say there is still space for two or three stallholders and any musicians interested in appearing on the day.

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One man has brushed up for the Tour by painting a giant white Yorkshire rose on the side of his house, which is situated along the route.

Richard Palliser, from Outlane, could raise up to £1,000 for Halifax Magpies rugby club through sponsorship for the mural, which is six feet in diameter and has taken him about a week to complete.

He said: “I watched the Tour de France in West Vale last year and I was blown away by the atmosphere and the crowds.

“So I took it upon myself to celebrate the Tour de Yorkshire, seeing as though I live directly on the route.

“I’m trained as an architect although I’ve done a bit of decorating at home.

“I also play rugby and played against Halifax Magpies a month ago so I thought it would be nice to raise some money for them and kill two birds with one stone.

“I was hoping to raise £500 but the total’s already pushing £1,000.

“People were a bit bemused at first but it’s got a really positive reaction - people toot their horns when they drive past.

“Hopefully the cyclists will get a good view at it as they go past.”

The Halifax Magpies are a mixed ability rugby team who engage people with learning or physical disabilities and encourage participation in competitive sports.

A special 3D map of the route is currently on show at Cycle Gear in Halifax while St Chad’s Primary School in Brighouse is hosting the finals of a special inter-school cycle racing competition today which will see pupils from 10 local schools battle it out in track races, circuit races and through obstacles.

The Robin Hood pub in Cragg Vale will host Cragg Fest on Saturday with live bands, food and drink from 1pm to 11pm.

A children’s art exhibition is running from today until Monday in the community room and coffee lounge at the Robin Hood pub, showcasing pictures by pupils from Cragg Vale Junior and Infant School and the Calder Valley Steiner School.

The Spaw Sunday well-blessing ceremony will see morris dancers and a picnic in the park, with all the fun getting underway at 3pm after the Tour de Yorkshire has gone past.

An Artisan Market and a Spring fete will be held outside The Hinchliffe Arms and St John’s Church, Cragg Vale, on May 4, from 11am to 4pm.

There will be Maypole Dancing by children from the school outside The Hinchliffe Arms, a hog roast, face-painting, glitter body tattoos, traditional games such as skittles and shove halfpenny, a bouncy castle slide, a grand raffle and more.

Joanne Hull, from the Robin Hood pub in Cragg Vale, said: “There have been a lot of different people involved in organising everything, including the Cragg Vale Community Association and the Cragg Vale 15 group.

“There were about 1,000 people at last year’s Cragg Fest and about 500 to 600 people at Spaw Sunday.

“We raised around £600 for the Calder Valley Search and Rescue and we’ll be fundraising again for them this year.

“We just want people to come along and enjoy themselves.

“All the entertainment is free so hopefully lots of people turn up and enjoy what Cragg Vale has to offer.

“I’d like to thank all the local people who have been involved in organising and creating all these events and it’d be great if people came out to support us.”