YOUNGSTERS across Craven have been experiencing the excitement of the build-up to the our de France's arrival in only two days' time.

A flag designed by Skipton schoolgirl Connie Hawley and featuring a jolly sheep will welcome Tour de France cyclists this weekend.

Ten-year-old Connie, who goes to Water Street Primary School, won the Craven District Council-Just Teachers competition to design a hand waving flag.

Thousands of the flags, paid for by Just Teachers, have now been distributed to all Craven primary schools.

“We had a fantastic response to the competition with hundreds of entries, " said Councillor Simon Myers, lead member for the Tour. "It is great to see Craven schools getting behind the Tour de France and I’m looking forward to seeing the winning design in print.”

David Jones, managing director of Just Teachers and competition judge, said: “We particularly like Connie’s design because she had captured the excitement of the Tour de France and given it a local twist. She is a very deserving winner.”

Copies of all the competition entries are on display at Craven Pool and Fitness Centre.

Meanwhile poetry-inspired pupils at a Beamsley school who are eagerly anticipating the start of the Tour have built a sculpture out of recycled bicycle parts.

Children in Key Stage 2 at Boyle and Petyt Primary School, with the help of art and design teacher Debra Petty, designed the sculpture entitled ‘Poetry in Motion’.

The sculpture, which features children’s poems written on the recycled bicycle wheels, will be admired by temporary visitors inhabiting 20 tents pitched on the school field for this weekend’s Grand Depart.

“There is a lot of excitement, anticipation and buzz about the tour,” said administration assistant Carol Downs. She said Tour riders would be “bombing past” the school on their way down Beamsley Hill on Sunday.

Children at Sutton Community Primary School were visited by a supporting member of Great Britain's most successful Tour de France cycling team ever.

Nick Howes, the digital manager of Team Sky, who is originally from this area, visited students earlier this month.

Headteacher Fiona Beetles said Nick came to inspire the children about cycling and kick start a school project about the Tour de France.

He talked about his role with Team Sky, which was followed by a Q and A session with the children.

"From the response to Nick's visit along with the school's Tour de France topic, it is clear to see that lots of children have developed a passion for cycling," said Mrs Beetles."The children have got all sorts of exciting events planned including a 'bring your bike to school day' and a Tour de France picnic in the park."

And youngsters at Kettlewell Primary School have been getting ahead of the action by testing the Tour route before the Grand Depart arrives in the village on Saturday.

They have been involved in their Bikeability cycling proficiency training with North Yorkshire County Council’s road safety officers.

After initial tests and exercises on the school playground, instructors decided the children were ready to ride along the route, learning as they ride.

Tracy Briggs, Kettlewell school’s manager, said: “The students are very excited that the Tour de France will race past their homes and have been preparing for the race for many weeks."

Over the last three years some 12,000 North Yorkshire children have taken part in Bikeability .The two-day course provides supervised training on real roads with real traffic.