Norfolk and Suffolk communities gear up for Tour of Britain

Towns and villages across Norfolk and Suffolk are gearing up for the Tour of Britain with a host of activities to welcome the professional cycle race.

There is just over a month to go until the internationally-renowned sporting event hits the region and communities are beginning to prepare for the race on Saturday, September 17.

Stage seven of the Tour will begin at Bury St Edmunds in the morning and the 200km race will finish at the Sandringham Estate in west Norfolk.

Communities along the route are beginning to gear up for the UK's largest free-to-watch live sporting fixture with a number of events to celebrate the country's biggest professional cycle race, for which the EDP is a media sponsor.

A day of activity is planned at the finishing line from 11am at Sandringham including art in the woods, a bike ride from Lynnsport, archery, foam javelin, football and golf, a climbing wall, music and dancing, and a farmers' market.

James Carswell, Norfolk County Council's cabinet member for cultural services, said the Tour represented a big sporting and economic opportunity for the county.

'The return of the Tour of Britain will once again provide people with the chance to join other members of their community to enjoy a world class sporting event near to where they live. And with the race taking place on a Saturday this year, I hope even more people can get out and enjoy the community events along the route and the race itself,' he said.

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Eye Town Council is asking local residents to submit their cycling tales for display around the town in the run-up to the visit of Olympic, World and Commonwealth cyclists. The north Suffolk town is also planning a range of entertainment on the big day, including an artisan market in the town hall, live bands in the streets, competitions to promote cycling and fitness, and a children's competition to design a bicycle for the future.

South Norfolk Council is organising free cycle training at Diss Junior School on August 27 and Wymondham Leisure Centre on September 3 between 10am and midday.

Four cycle rides are also being organised in Diss in the run-up to the Tour including a one hour session for over 50s on September 12, a women only event on September 14, a social bike ride on September 22, and a led ride including a bike maintenance session on September 24. For more information, call 07976 604522 or email cycledivas@rocketmail.com

Town councillor Jay Hurley, who is also looking to organise an event at Diss Park on September 17, said: 'It would be fantastic when the helicopter flies over Diss that we have the park packed out with people. I would like to see Diss benefiting from the coverage that the tour will bring.'

Gayton Parish Council will be opening its new play area at the village near King's Lynn and offering a barbecue to celebrate.

In Wymondham, traders at the monthly farmers' market are being warned to bring extra stock to feed the extra visitors when the cycle ride comes through the town.

Visit www.norfolkcelebratingtalent.co.uk

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