Norfolk gets ready for Tour of Britain celebrations

Excitement is building for the start of the penultimate stage of the Tour of Britain, which takes place next week.

Dozens of professional cycle riders are set to hit the rural roads and pass through scores of towns and villages for the race that will take place next Saturday.

The country's biggest sporting spectator event will return to the region with a 200km race that will start in Bury St Edmunds and finish at the Sandringham Estate in west Norfolk.

Communities along the route are staging a host of events to celebrate the Tour and anticipation is building for the race, which will feature a host of well-known riders including Tour de France green jersey winner Mark Cavendish.

Last year's Norfolk stage saw an estimated 130,000 people on the streets, which gave a multi-million pound boost to the county's economy.

James Carswell, Norfolk County Council's cabinet member for cultural services, said: 'Whilst hosting the Tour of Britain cycle race in Norfolk allows residents to enjoy the race itself, the large array of events that are planned for Saturday, September 17 shows that there's a lot more to the day than just the race.'

'Communities will come together along the route throughout the day, whether for fun activities, or to raise money for local causes and associations.'

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The riders are set to hit the Norfolk-Suffolk border at about midday on Saturday and the town of Eye is bring buskers and live bands to the streets to welcome the participants through the town.

There will be a host of free activities in Diss Park between 10.30am and 3.30pm on Saturday, including a bouncy castle, face painting, giant games, circus skills and music from the Bloco Rabo De Foguete Brazilian street band.

The section between Diss and Wymondham will be a sprint stage and the riders are expected to arrive in the town centre between 1pm and 1.30pm.

Poetry busking will take place in the town during the day as part of the Wymondham Words festival and there will be a farmers' market in the Market Place.

The Bell Inn at Barnham Broom will be holding a family fun day with bouncy castle, barbecue, and beer festival.

Gayton Parish Council will be opening its new play area and offering a barbecue to celebrate the Tour racing through the village.

The Parson Woodforde pub at Weston Longville will be hosting a farmers' market in their garden. There will be a Heart Radio roadshow in Reepham Market Place, a fancy dress bike competition, and the local scout group is organising a barbecue.

Stage seven of the Tour of Britain is set to end at the Sandringham Estate at around 3pm where a family fun day will begin at 11am.

There will be guided bike rides and sporting activities including archery, golf, speed bounce, foam javelin and watt bikes.

Entertainment will be provided by the Springwood High School Orchestra, the Norfolk County Symphonic Wind Orchestra, the King's Morris Dancers, and a local shanty band. There will also be a farmers' market.

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