So ‘Le Tour’ has been and gone from sunny Yorkshire, splendid as it was! But what could be a more fitting memento to the Grand Depart in West Yorkshires Dales than a 15ft high sculptural dry stone wall, erected – or rather built – near Ripley Castle.
This was built in time for the race to pass by in July by Gordon Simpson with 40 tonnes of local stone. It took him “four weeks of dust, sweat and extremely hard, long days” to complete and was only finished the night before the Grand Depart.
Gordon has turned this ancient skill, passed down from one generation to another, into an art form. Margaret, my wife, and I were fortunate to cycle past this monument in September 2014, and stopped to appreciate the creativity of this piece, only to be dumbfounded by an accompanying piece of paper stating that planning permission is being applied for to enable this sculptural monument to remain in situ.
Fortunately for the whole world, sense must have prevailed in the planning committee, as on 1 January 2015 the official unveiling of this monument took place by Brian Robinson (a 2x stage winner in previous Tours).
Yet the materials and labour have all been privately funded and a shortfall still remains in the fund set up by Aire Valley Cycles. Donations are still being welcomed to cover this shortfall and should be sent directly to Aire Valley Cycles shop, Keighley. Every small donation will help.