Le Tour: Thousands line streets to cheer on peloton in West Vale

Tour de France breakaway ridesr race through Calderdale
Tour de France breakaway ridesr race through Calderdale

West Vale came to a standstill as the Tour de France drew thousands of people onto the streets.

Crowds stood shoulder-to-shoulder on the route, with people lining the railings along the Andy Thornton Mill, who hosted a party in honour of the Grand Depart.

The village was decked out in yellow bunting, Union Jack flags and home-made banners as residents flooded the streets to welcome Le Tour.

Every vehicle involved in the pre-race caravan was cheered and applauded from giant drinks bottles to huge bags of sweets as they drove through the village.

But the biggest cheers were reserved for the riders, who finally appeared in the flesh after the assembled crowds had watched them cycle through Hebden Bridge, Cragg Vale and Ripponden on a giant screen placed in the village centre.

Jerry Hodkinson, of Andy Thornton Mill, said: “It’s been an amazing experience.”Everybody has come up to me and said what a wonderful day it’s been.

“I watched it on top of the tower here with about 40 people who were employees and children of employees of the company, plus Andy himself.

“There were about seven helicopters buzzing around.

“There’s been 400 people here today - staff, friends, family and suppliers.

“It’s just been awesome, I’ve really enjoyed it.”

Marilyn Greenwood, who helped organise the events in West Vale, said: “What a wonderful day!

“The atmosphere was amazing. It made me so proud to be from West Vale.

“The turnout was better than I had hoped and the crowd control and organisation was excellent - they did a really good job.

“It’s just been brilliant.”

David Potter, from King Cross, was among the crowds. He said: “It was excellent. I watch it every year but to see it in the flesh - it’ll never happen again.

“The atmosphere was electric and it was a really good turnout.”