Wheels appeal as thousands pack town

Eye-catching entries in the Fantastical Cycle Parade
Eye-catching entries in the Fantastical Cycle Parade

Thousands of people lined the route of the Fantastical Cycle Parade in Todmorden to cap a day-long celebration of the Tour de France.

A children’s bikeathon at Centre Vale Park on Burnley Road ran as a precursor to the afternoon parade.

The Mother’s Union also served up cakes, tea and coffee in aid of their Wheels Appeal at St Mary’s Church, Todmorden town centre.

Then the Mayor of Todmorden led the spectacular parade of bikes large and small, which featured more than 100 decorated bikes and scooters, four giant kinetic sculptures, bands, gaint walkabout puppets and street performers.

The parade followed two weeks of workshops run by organisers Handmade Parade, in partnership with Tour De Tod, and was one of the Yorkshire Festival’s biggest events - the festival has a hundred days of arts and community events in the run up to Tour De France coming to Yorkshire in July.

Cynthia Murray, of the Tour De Tod group, said: “It was absolutely unbelievable. There were thousands of people on the route three or four deep.

“It was absolutely packed in the town centre and everybody followed the parade from the park into Todmorden.

“It was beyond our expectations. Everybody who spoke to me afterwards just said it was wonderful.

“The town was really busy and the shops and cafes were full of people which was excellent for the town.

“And we were so lucky with the weather.

“A lot of people have done a lot of hard work and we would like to thank everyone who helped to make it such a magnificent event.”

Hannah Merriman, organiser, said: “The event was a huge success. With well over a hundred community bikes, trikes and scooters, some stunning decorated wheelchairs, our vanguard of Prammy Nannies and their vegetable babies and all the giant creations Todmorden saw something to remember for a long time.

“The streets were packed deep with people and the festival kept people in town well into the afternoon. Granny Turismo and their irreverent revving octogenarians were a highlight, as were Skiband and the Handmade Samba Band.”

“I’d really like to thank everyone who gave so generously of their time, the police, the fire brigade, everyone at Todmorden High School, all our fantastic volunteers and in particular Todmorden Town Council and Yorkshire Festival who funded the event.

“It was a tour de force in community collaboration where everyone got stuck in and we were much greater than the sum of our parts.”

Mayor of Todmorden Coun Jayne Booth said: “It was unbelievable, a total success. The route was lined with folk, the market was alive and the feelgood factor was awesome.”