The ether must have been hot with sithees and ee by gums after thousands of Yorkshire folk tackled the online training to become tourmakers for Le Grand Depart, the start of this year’s Tour de France.
Although sponsored by Leeds-based supermarket giant Asda, the training must have been put together by someone down south who minds their ps and qs and calls a spade a digging implement for use by a gardener. Why else would the rather patronising prose point out that those not local to the Chosen County may misinterpret our friendly banter when we call them ‘love’ and, err, well, what exactly? Fear they were being proposed to and dragged off to eat mucky fat sandwiches and very strong tea before having to shovel coal with a ferret down their trousers for the rest of their lives?
Fortunately sense has prevailed, as Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, the Tyke whose vision brought Le Tour to Leeds, told broadcaster Rob Bonnet ‘You can call me love anytime’. And we all heard it, all 7000 tourmakers gathered in the First Direct Leeds arena where we had gathered to get rather excited about volunteering. We did.
We’d all waited outside in the rain to acclimatise those not from Yorkshire to the weather and test waterproofs, before being treated to a Le Tour spectacle which included an interview with the wonderful Brian Robinson, the first Brit to win a Tour de France stage back in 1958. Of course he’s from Yorkshire, my home town of Mirfield even, and of course he’s modest and understated and of course he called us ‘love’. He did’t really, but he could well have!
Next steps are for us to have face-to-face training when we can call people ‘love’ for real. And we’ll get to pick up our uniforms which are bright green and soft blue, I just hope we get to wear a Yorkshire rose too!