Volunteers from the Bradford district are gearing up for the ride of their lives after being picked as Tour Makers for the Tour de France’s Grand Depart in Yorkshire.
Becky Clarke of Bingley, Vijay Dayalji of Bradford and Claire Brown of Rawdon will help will welcome millions of visitors when the Grand Depart begins in July and races around Yorkshire for two days, before a third stage from Cambridge to London.
Official applications have just been completed and the local trio is among 12,000 people named this weekend as the first-ever Tour Makers.
Keen cyclist Becky, 35, said: “It’s really so exciting and a great privilege – I’m very chuffed!
“It was a bit worrying waiting to hear, but now I just can’t wait to get started.
“This really is a once-in-a -lifetime opportunity.”
She is a former archaeology student, who now works in health and safety for a supermarket chain.
“I’ve watched the Tour on TV for years as my dad’s a big, big fan,” she said. “He’s going to be so jealous! Our main role as Tour Makers will be helping the general public and making sure everyone has a safe, good time.”
Vijay said he was amazed to have been selected.
“I was completely shocked and am really excited to be a part of it,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to meeting people, seeing the riders zoom past and being part of the atmosphere and the buzz.” The ground-breaking Tour Maker project is a first in the history of the Tour de France’s Grand Departs.
The next step for volunteers is to complete an online event training module before attending the motivational training and uniform collection days in May and June.
Gary Verity, the chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, which led the bid to bring the Tour to the region, said: “The response since day one to the Tour Maker project has been unbelievable, with so many people wanting to be directly involved with this historic event.
“Whatever role a Tour Maker plays, wherever that is, they can say for years to come ‘I was there and I helped make it happen’.”
Tour Maker roles include wayfinders at transport hubs, route marshals, flag marshals and crossing marshals along the route. Volunteers will be allocated roles by the TDFHub2014 Ltd who are delivering the Tour Maker programme.
Nicky Roche, chief executive of TdFHUB2014 Ltd, which is managing the Tour Makers, said: “The standard of applications was incredibly high, and I know that come July we will have a team of incredible, talented Tour Makers ready to welcome the world to the Tour de France in the UK.”
For more on Yorkshire's Grand De[art on the weekend of July 5 and 6, visit www.letouryorkshire.com.