On Saturday we welcomed the Tour de Yorkshire to Doncaster, and what a fantastic day it was.
Rarely, if ever, have we experienced such a widespread, well-supported community event across our borough. It was incredibly uplifting to see so many people enjoying themselves and really getting into the spirit of things.
From Hooton Pagnell and Barnburgh to Conisbrough and Sprotbrough, Tickhill and Bawtry to the sprint finish down Bennetthorpe, to name just a few areas, local people did our borough proud. Our communities really came to life and the whole route looked superb, with blue and yellow bunting, painted bikes, knitted jerseys, posters and banners helping to add vibrancy. But it was local people who really made the event special.
When we put in our bid for the Tour, I wanted to achieve a number of goals. Firstly, to bring something special to Doncaster that people could really enjoy, get involved in and be proud of, not just in the centre of town but across as many communities as possible. I wanted to deliver economic benefits for local businesses and pshowcase our borough to people from outside Doncaster. We also wanted to inspire people, particularly children and young people, and secure some long-term benefits.
It was unfortunate technical problems affected the national television coverage. But on every other front the Tour was a huge success in Doncaster. Initial estimates suggested around 45,000 people lined the route with many cafes, pubs and shops experiencing a huge boost in trading. The community spirit was amazing too, with dozens of local events, activities and entertainment. I particularly enjoyed watching excited children as they raced their bikes along the finishing straight.
I want to thank everyone involved in making the event such a massive success.
You all helped to make it an unforgettable day. Congratulations everyone. You did our town proud.
Don’t throw out the bunting and the bikes just yet.
You never know, perhaps the tour will return to Doncaster one day. I’d certainly like to see that happen.
From one great success in our borough to another, next week I am looking forward to attending the ground-breaking ceremony for the new National College for High Speed Rail.
Securing Doncaster as a site for the national college is another great achievement and a further step forward for our borough, bringing cutting-0edge technology and training to the town.
The plans are very exciting and soon we’ll see the new building taking shape, before it opens for the first intake of students in September 2017.