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Tour sparks knitting rush

Tour sparks knitting rush

Published at 2:09pm 19th February 2014. (Updated at 4:29pm 19th February 2014)

Knitters from around the world have come forward to help Harrogate welcome the Tour de France.

A call to knit small jerseys to celebrate the Yorkshire Grand Départ has far exceeded its original aim and nearly 8,000 little yellow, green and polka dot jerseys have been donated to hang across the district.

The initial target was just 3,000 jerseys.

Harrogate Borough Council is now making a final call, as all jerseys are needed for 10 March. 

Councillor Pat Jones, Cabinet Member for Culture, Tourism and Sports, has thanked everyone who has taken up their knitting needles to respond to the challenge.

She added: "We have had bags, boxes and bundles of knitted jerseys delivered over the past few months - so far more than 3,000 have arrived.

"Pledges have come from as far afield as Austria, Bermuda, Canada, France, the Netherlands and Switzerland, as well as all around our own country.

"Pledges have also come from the Isle of Man. The Manx Heritage Quilters and Knitting Group are personalising theirs with the Three Legs of Man, their national emblem.

"Not only is 5 July National Manx Day, but Mark Cavendish and Peter Kennaugh raced in the Isle of Man RL360 youth cycling team.

"More than forty ladies from the group are coming to Harrogate for the Tour weekend and no doubt their cheers will be the loudest at the Stage 1 finishing line in Harrogate."

Patrick Kilburn, the council’s Head of Parks and Open Spaces, has also added his thanks: "This has been led by my team, but the original idea was worked up with students from York University and the pattern was created for us by the owners of Baa Ram Ewe knitting business on Cold Bath Road in Harrogate.

"We wanted this to be something the community could get involved with to celebrate our hosting the Tour, but the great knock-on effect has been the boom in business for those selling knitting wool.

"We don't mind whether people send us one jersey or a box full - the most we know one person has knitted is 89 so far.

"We have a good mix of the green, white and yellow jerseys, but we could do with a few more of the King of the Mountain red dotted jerseys."

Anyone interested in helping can find the details here.