Tour de France, more than a Pope’s Toilet.

There’s a very tragic film called The Popes Toilet. The film is about a small community which is preparing for a visit by the Pope. The whole town starts to come up with creative ideas about making money and welcoming visitors. One bright spark thinks that the thousands of pilgrims will all need a loo at some point and will be willing to pay. Other people are putting on entertainment and feasts knowing there will be massive crowds. At the last minute the Pope cancels the visit and the community is plunged back into into poverty and despair.

Of course the Tour de France is quite a different proposition but the energy for making the most of its arrival here is impressive. All Saints Church Ilkley is pulling out all the stops this week for the Tour’s arrival next Saturday.

This promises to be a huge event as we all know and the church has live sports screens, grandstand seating, a sports cafe and all sorts of other attractions. The publicity machine has been working overtime with a page on our newly re-branded website and a page of information. See it here

But it’s not just All Saints, the whole town is finding a reason to work together to make the most of this great event. I know the Ilkley Business Forum and other groups are working really hard to come up with creative ideas.

In the next valley the schools in Keighley have been building all sorts of community orientated activities for children. There are artists creating vast pieces in the landscape in a project called Fields of Vision. The Worth Valley Young Farmers have come up with this one.  The intention is that these artworks will be visible from the helicopter shots of the Tour de France. Some of the schools have also been creating huge messages which will be visible in their playing fields.

Of course this is a big marketing and commercial opportunity for Yorkshire as we’re being told, but I’d like to note that it is more than a money making opportunity. The legacy I hope will include enhanced pride in the place we live and a stronger inclination to work together.

Connecting people through big exciting ideas and working together. Great stuff.