Over 2,000 cycling jerseys have been knitted in Ripon, North Yorkshire, to create special bunting for the UCI Road World Championships.
Yorkshire smallest city plans to deck out its centre in woolly bunting as tens of thousands of colourful knitted jerseys are hoped to be completed and displayed for August.
The UCI World Road Champions take place 22-29 September across the Harrogate District, welcoming huge crowds of spectators from around the world.
Harrogate Mayor, Stuart Martin MBE, said: “Our District is welcoming the world, and we really wanted to do something that gave back to the world and brought all the community together. Ripon has a remarkable reputation for its community spirit, and this project builds on the 55,000 poppies knitted for the remembrance commemorations.”
The smaller jerseys will be stitched together to create blankets to donate to Third World countries, with baby-sized jerseys also being donated to babies in need of clothing.
Images of Harrogate and Ripon cycling routes will be beamed to 250m people across the world and more than 8,000 international cyclists and their teams will take part.
Richard Spencer, Director of Visit Harrogate, said: “It’s a brilliant idea to showcase Ripon and help it stand out to global audiences as a unique, warm and welcoming city to visit. We’re hoping towns and villages across the District will be inspired and perhaps pick up a few knitting patterns and engage in this worthwhile initiative.”
Community volunteers Carol Dunkley and Hazel Barker are leading knitting circles across Ripon after spearheading the knitted poppies last year, which will be re-displayed this November. Wool has been donated by Specsavers.
Councillor Stuart Martin established the Madagascan charity, TASC, which builds schools in the country as well as supporting children in need, who are victims of abuse or homelessness. He first got involved after leading charity bike rides in the country.
Stuart said: “In a way the cycling theme comes full circle, as it was cycling that first took me to Madagascar. I plan to take the knitted jerseys out there for this cause, which is very close to my heart. Bunting could have been a one-off throw away use for this event but we’ve turned it into something practical and needed.”
The knitted jerseys for babies is also symbolic for Stuart as his charity has helped generations of disadvantaged children from birth to adulthood. This year TASC is sending its first cohort of underprivileged children to University after supporting them through primary and senior school.
As well as helping those in need, the knitting stitches together community spirit.
Hazel Barker said: “Knitting has been proven to provide a positive impact on well-being, and a knit and natter helps reduce isolation in our community particularly for the elderly and lonely. It’s really a wonderful project, and visually, it’s another community effort that fills our city with great pride. Can we beat the 55,000 knitted poppies from last year? We’ll give it a good go!”