COLUMN: Tour visit was a fantastic day for the county

Tour Of Britain 2017
Tour Of Britain 2017

What a day it was. Nottinghamshire witnessed a major international sporting event, broadcast live to millions of viewers, with a thrilling finale and I was delighted to have been part of it.

Around 200,000 people turned out to watch stage four of the Tour of Britain cycle race. It was fantastic to hear commentators saying that our county had the biggest crowds of the tour so far.

Without the support, goodwill and enthusiasm of local residents, businesses, schools we wouldn’t have been able to bring this free-to-attend sporting event to our county.

I want to thank everyone for turning out in force to support the riders. Especially as hours of hard work went into creating the miles of bunting, countless flags, dozens and dozens of yellow bikes around the 45 towns and villages along the 165km-long route.

A special thank you goes to the thousands of school children, teachers and staff who looked and sounded fantastic as they cheered and waved on the riders. It was certainly a unique way to start the new school term.

And then there’s the impressive displays of land art.

Dozens of displays were captured by a TV helicopters, including the much-talked about woolly bike wheels formed by moving sheep, a bike made of boats, a giant bramley apple and creative bike displays by schools.

Hours of live TV coverage were dedicated to our county, showcasing our top landmarks, well-loved legends and stunning countryside, giving viewers across the UK and the world a window into what Nottinghamshire has to offer as a tourist destination.

Winners of our Tour of Britain flag and trophy competition, Mansfield youngsters Saffron Keegan and Connor Chidlow, both aged six had a day they will never forget.

Saffron waved off some of the world’s top cyclists with the flag she designed in her Mansfield home town. While sports-mad Connor presented his designed trophy to the stage winner, Fernando Gaviria, in Newark in front of a live TV audience.

Our very own council chairman, Councillor John Handley, also enjoyed his moment of international TV fame when he made a presentation to the stage winner.

It was an incredible day and shows that our county has what it takes to host a sporting event of this scale – which is why we want to see the Tour of Britain come back here in 2018 – so that even more people can experience this fantastic event.