Global campers say ‘bonjour’ to Bradfield village

Bradfield's Steel Stage, crowds enjoy the bands in the sunshine
Bradfield's Steel Stage, crowds enjoy the bands in the sunshine
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It was just an ordinary village field.

But something special happened at the Cotton Star Camping site, set up especially for the Tour, over the weekend – it became a global community.

Big-hearted revellers lent a hand when The Star’s camper van got stuck in the mud, shared food and enjoyed campfire entertainment in the rain.

Four families, with ages from three to 79, a mixture of Nepalese and English heritages, had decorated their tents with traditional prayer flags.

Dev Gurung, a former mountain trek guide in Nepal, said: “It’s a big climb up Woodfall Lane in Bradfield. I wouldn’t say the hills are easier than Nepal, but they are different!”

Other campers hailed from London and many had cycled to the peaceful Low Bradfield spot.

Frenchman Patrice Lecouvey, who has lived in Sheffield for 10 years, was camping with seven-year-old son Marco.

He said: “I think the people of France would be honoured by the way the people of Sheffield have embraced this. It is always a big party in France.”

Closer to home, Deborah Burrell and Andrew Clayton had made the journey from Woodhouse.

Deborah said: “We are treating it like a mini holiday away from it all.

“Our daughter Scarlett really wanted to come, there was a choice, but they wanted to come here because it was once in a lifetime.”

Almost 4,000 people had packed into the Steel Stage fan hub on Saturday night, enjoying music and Bradfield Brewery’s first ale festival.

But they had no idea how big the next day would become.

It began with a pilgrimage through the village and by early morning the streets were thronged with cyclists and families – and even four people pushing a wheelchair.

Enterprising local spectators pushed their sofas on to the route, while others had waited since 7.30am to get the best spot.

“I am flabbergasted by how many people are here,” said Nina Peppit, aged 62, who was dressed in polka dots and sipping wine with friends.

“It’s wonderful.”

But camper Claire Tripathi summed it up best with the words: “I’ve never seen as much lycra in my life.”