Tour de France preparations step up a gear

Launch of the Tour de ECLC (East Calderdale Learning Community) at St Chad's School, Hove Edge, Brighouse. Pictured from the left are Kim Boothroyd, Paul Smith, Simon Collins, Diane Lawton, Robert Fox, Joanne Grogan, Jason Saxby, Emma Hall, Rachel Campbell, Graeme Genty and Claire Berry. Photography by Gordon Wilkinson
Launch of the Tour de ECLC (East Calderdale Learning Community) at St Chad's School, Hove Edge, Brighouse. Pictured from the left are Kim Boothroyd, Paul Smith, Simon Collins, Diane Lawton, Robert Fox, Joanne Grogan, Jason Saxby, Emma Hall, Rachel Campbell, Graeme Genty and Claire Berry. Photography by Gordon Wilkinson

Preparations to welcome the Tour de France in Brighouse are stepping up a gear with just over a month to go until the Grand Depart comes to Calderdale.

Several schools in Brighouse will be joining in the Tour de ECLC (East Calderdale Learning Community), which will see head teachers and school staff cycling 25 miles around the region.

On June 23, the staff will stop off at William Henry Smith School, Field Lane Primary, Highbury, Castlefields Infants, all in Rastrick, and finishing the day at Longroyde Junior School, Rastrick.

The following day they will travel to Carr Green Primary, Woodhouse Primary, St Andrew’s Juniors, St Andrew’s Infants, St John’s in Clifton, Cliffe Hill Community Primary, Hipperholme and Lightcliffe High, St Joseph’s at Brighouse, and finishing at St Chad’s Primary School, Hove Edge.

The ride was launched at St Chad’s Primary School during a special event on Friday.

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People’s Services, Coun Megan Swift, said: “All the schools and teachers involved are gearing up for the ride, and putting the finishing touches to their activity and training plans.

“I’m sure they’ll all have an eventful couple of days, with challenges along the way, but it’s a great way to engage school children across East Calderdale, and help build excitement for the Tour de France.”

Calderdale Council’s Head of Learning Services, David Whalley, who is also taking part in the ride, said: “It will be a challenging couple of days for those involved, but a fantastic way for all the schools within the East Calderdale Learning Community to get involved and feel a part of the celebrations throughout Yorkshire for the Yorkshire Festival and the Tour de France.

Graeme Genty, head teacher of St Chad’s Primary School, said: “The idea was to give all of the children a real sense of occasion and to do something very hands on and practical to gear them up for the Tour de France coming to Yorkshire.

“It’s also to get the staff in schools to face a cycling challenge which should hopefully inspire them to do some Tour de France work with the children back in class.””

Local pupils will also be competing with other schoolchildren across Yorkshire to design the best bike stand.

The idea is the brainchild of Leeds-based architects QAD who will work with Brighouse metalworking firm Arkoni to manufacture and install the winning pupil’s entry at their own school free of charge.

Ian Bryant, a Director at QAD, said: “There’s plenty of scope for imagination in designing a bicycle stand for up to ten bikes that is both eye-catching and practical. We will judge all of the entries over the summer break and then announce a winner in early September.

“We hope that entrants will capture the spirit of the Tour de France in their design and create something very special that will be in place for many years to come.

“The winning pupil will receive a voucher for cycling gear and see their design turned into reality by a team of apprentices at Arkoni before being installed at their school during the autumn term.”

Entries should be submitted by July 11 by post to Cycle Stand Challenge, QAD Architects, Greenhouse, Beeston Road, Leeds LS11 6AD or e-mail to info@q-ad.co.uk.

Calderdale Council has announced six spectator hubs that will offer people the chance to watch the Grand Depart on big screens.

For more information, and to find out how to travel around Calderdale on the day of the race, go to www.visitcalderdale.com.