Thousands turn out to see the Tour in Silsden

Craven Herald: Tour de France cyclists ride through Silsden Tour de France cyclists ride through Silsden

THOUSANDS of people flocked to Silsden to watch the Tour de France’s Grand Depart.

Arriving by train, car, bike, barge or on foot, they were treated to a cycling spectacular.

The forecasted rain held off as the cyclists sped through the town, which had been decorated with bikes and yellow jerseys.

Silsden mayor Cllr Chris Atkinson said the event was awesome.

“Everyone has pulled together and done the town proud. Everything has gone really well,” he said.

He also paid tribute to the local churches which had organised a series of bike-themed events.

Local Methodist minister the Rev Ruth Crompton said: “The atmosphere is superb. Everyone has pulled together to decorate the town.”

She added that she hoped that there would be a long-term legacy and already a community fair was being planned for October to build on the community spirit.

“We need to keep the momentum going,” she said.

Almost the entire town turned out to watch the race.

Resident Halina Brophy, dressed in yellow, said: “I have watched the Tour de France for many years and I have waited all my life to see it with my own eyes. I am very excited.”

Fellow Silsdener Janet Waterhouse said: “It is brilliant. I am really surprised how lovely the town looks.”

Also watching the race were Lee and Leanne Cavaney and their children, Adam, five, and Nathan, two, whose Bolton Road home is adjacent to the route.

"The atmosphere is great," said Leanne.

But it wasn’t just locals who lined the streets – people came from far and wide.

Doncaster woman Gill Eden, who watched the Tour pass through Skipton the previous day, came back for more.

“It is a once in a lifetime experience. It is amazing. The organisation has been absolutely superb. It is just wonderful,” she said.

Burnley couple Bill and Barbara Hindle sailed into town on their canal barge.

"We had thought about going to Skipton but decided to sail onto Skipton," said Barbara.

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