Organisers of the Tour de France’s visit to Yorkshire have insisted the last thing they want to do is tone down the county’s identity after it emerged volunteers were being asked to avoid traditional northern greetings like ‘love’.
Thousands of Tour Makers have been recruited to help with the up to three million people expected to flock to watch the opening two stages of the world’s most famous cycle race on July 5 and 6.
But an online training video provoked complaints from some of those who volunteered as it advised staying clear of “words such as ‘mate’, ‘love’ or ‘darling’”.
According to the reports, the tutorial said: “They may sound friendly to you, but they could offend some people.”
Welcome to Yorkshire, the tourism agency which brought the opening stages of the Tour to Yorkshire, said it wanted to do everything it could to promote Yorkshire’s identity.
But a spokesman added: “The Grand Depart of the Tour de France will celebrate everything Yorkshire, including our dialect but we want to be careful not to cause confusion for our overseas visitors.”
Around 12,000 Tour Makers will be helping out with the first two stages of the Tour in Yorkshire and stage three, from Cambridge to London.
The role has been modelled on the highly successful Games Makers at the London 2012 Olympics and will involve guiding visitors and manning the route.
The Tour de France 2014 starts in the centre of Leeds on July 5 with stage one winding through the Yorkshire Dales to Harrogate.
Stage two, the day after, goes from York to Sheffield and the third stage starts in Cambridge and finishes on The Mall, in central London.