Bells and buskers for Otley's Tour de France celebrations

Ilkley Gazette: The forecourt of The Woolpack Studios, on Bondgate - one of five 'busk stops' in Otley for the Tour de France. The forecourt of The Woolpack Studios, on Bondgate - one of five 'busk stops' in Otley for the Tour de France.

Church bells will herald the Tour de France's arrival in Otley.

All Saints Parish Church's ringers are contributing to a county-wide peal of bells that has been organised to greet the riders on Saturday, July 5.

They can be seen in action before that on TV screens across the country when they feature in BBC1's Songs of Praise Tour de France Special on Sunday, June 29.

Then at 8.45pm on Thursday, July 3, the Otley group will join other churches across Yorkshire for a dedicated burst of ringing as part of the Tour's opening ceremony.

On July 5 itself the Otley bells will be rung from just before 9am through to 9.45am, ahead of the Tour's publicity caravan arriving in the town.

All Saints' Tower Captain, Meg Morton, said: "There will be printed sheets available at the door of the bell tower, with the changes listed for anyone who would like to try to follow what we are doing."

Other Tour-related events at All Saints, meanwhile, will include a wine tasting and snacks evening from 7pm on Friday, July 4, and the church will be open from 8am to 5pm on both the Saturday and Sunday, when refreshments will be available and the race can be followed on a large screen.

The 10am Sunday service will have a special Tour theme, and the second stage of Le Grand Depart can then be watched from 11am. There will be no entry charge at the church, which hopes race spectators will feel welcome to visit for some respite and a seat.

*Details of other free live musical entertainment in Otley for July 5 have also been confirmed.

Four 'music pods' will be set up along the route and in operation from 8am to 10am, and will feature a variety of local acts including Bang On!, the Gerry McNeice Band with Velveteen, the Yorkshire Saxophone Choir, Wayzgoose Border Morris Side, and the Otley Ukulele Orchestra.

The pods will be based at Asda car park, in Manchester Square, at Waitrose, and outside Wharfebank Business Centre.

After the cyclists have passed through, more music is planned for the town centre to complement a big screen, food and craft market, street market and fun fairs.

Five 'busk stops' will appear - at The Woolpack, Otley Courthouse, and at the food and craft market on Courthouse Street, Manor Square and in Kirkgate.

Performing until 5pm, the entertainers will include five folk bands, including Glen Folk and the Dave Vermond Band, along with choirs, buskers, classical musicians and more Morris dancing.

Lawrence Ross, chairman of the group in charge of the day's musical attractions, said: "It all promises to be a great day in Otley, and with buses running from Leeds and Menston and plenty of accessible parking, as well as secure cycle parking, there’s no excuse not to be here."

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