Funding received for Pool-in-Wharfedale Tour banners

Ilkley Gazette: Wharfedale pupils’ art plan for Tour de France celebrations is back on track Wharfedale pupils’ art plan for Tour de France celebrations is back on track

A Wharfedale village’s hopes of producing an eye-catching display for the Tour de France are back on track.

Schoolchildren and residents had been working for months on a customised street banners project only to be left reeling, last December, with news that their funding application had failed.

That led to a public plea for help from the scheme’s co-leader, Pool Parish Councillor Richard Parker, who feared the worst.

But now his prayers - and those of fellow project organisers, professional artists and designers Karen and Tony van de Bospoort - have been answered with confirmation that Leeds Inspired has agreed to cover all of the estimated, nearly £10,000, costs.

They said: “This is an exciting project that will involve the community of Pool, including as many as 300 primary school children, creating 40 different banners to welcome the Tour de France cycling spectacular.”

Mr Parker added: “This is fantastic, unbelievable news - we are up and running again!

“We just need to get everything sorted now. Our original schedule was to have everything completed by the February half-term, so we’ll have to work our socks off to get it all done in time.

“It’s quite a tight schedule but I’m sure we'll make it and we're just thrilled that the funding is all in place.”

Hundreds of children have been working with Tony and Karen to create the project’s 20 customised, double-sided banners. The 2.2 metre high results, each sporting a photograph of a different child riding a sketched bicycle, and a personalised message, will go up on streetlights along the Tour's route - on Arthington Lane, Main Street and Pool Road.

MP Greg Mulholland (Lib Dem, Leeds North West) said: “I am delighted that funding has been granted for this exciting community art project which will bring the community in Pool together to celebrate the once-in-a-lifetime event.

“I met Richard, Tony and Karen in January to discuss how the project could be funded and offered my full support, making it clear that one way or another we would ensure this went ahead.

“I look forward to seeing the project in action with local children working on designs which will be seen around the world when the world's biggest annual sporting event passes through.

“The fact the Tour de France is coming through Pool is something these children will remember for the rest of their lives and their cycling-themed art will give a warm welcome to competitors and visitors alike.”

All of Pool’s children are now being invited to join the project by contributing a drawing, and having their photograph taken on a stylised bicycle, in April. Details about the date and venue - paper and pens will be supplied - will be confirmed soon.

The first of the 2014 Tour's riders are set to reach Pool at about 12.06pm on Saturday, July 5 - the publicity caravan will pass through two hours beforehand - on the first, 190km leg of the Grand Depart from Leeds to Harrogate.

Leeds Inspired is part of Leeds City Council and supports culture through grants schemes, commissions and running an events website.

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