Crowds cheered, flags waved and steep hills were climbed…and that was before the cycling had even begun!
As the proud official charity partner of the Tour de Yorkshire we were able to soak up the incredible atmosphere in towns and villages along the route and as part of the pre-race convoy - called a caravan - which warms up and excites the spectators before the main event.
From glorious sunshine to heavy downpours, nothing could dampen the spirits of those who came out to support the elite cyclists attempting one of the most gruelling events on the sporting calendar. Our veterans and wounded, injured and sick Serving military know all about endurance, perseverance and achievement and we are determined to give them a second chance at life.
A big ‘thank you’ from us all to everyone who gave money or gave up their time to help us fundraise over four days which have produced memories that instantly raise a smile.
The vitally-needed donations will help us give lifelong support to our Heroes who put their lives on the line for us when they join the Armed Forces. Every day seven men and women are medically discharged from the Armed Forces, despite us not being in active conflict at the moment. That’s seven people and their families whose lives will change forever and could need our support, so we are determined to ensure they have one less battle to fight.
The Tour de Yorkshire may have been a world class cycling competition, but it was so much more than that. It brought communities together in a way that’s rare to see nowadays. While young children put their hands over their ears in bewilderment as the noisy Tour de Yorkshire caravan convoy trundled through villages and towns like a travelling circus, their parents and especially grandparents and even great-grandparents raised their arms and squealed with genuine delight.
Communities showed off their creative flair to celebrate the races – there were painted sheep, street parties, miles of banners and bunting and thousands of children lined the route to give an extra special reception.
For the veterans, volunteers and staff from Help for Heroes, the warm welcome we received was overwhelmingly positive. The power of catching a stranger’s eye with a wave and a smile was life-affirming, rewarding and a genuinely privileged experience to be a part of. Cycling may not be England’s national sport, but it surely comes a close second in Yorkshire when the world’s eyes are focussed on God’s own country. One of the signs along the route on the outskirts of Doncaster that raised a laugh read: “Education is important, but cycling is importanter”.