Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Herd Farm says ‘Bonjour’ to the Grand Départ

Picture caption: Pupils from Colton Primary School help the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress open the new mountain bike trail at Herd Farm Activity Centre.

Leeds pupils and the Lord Mayor of Leeds have officially opened a new mountain bike trail and launched a programme of residential packages at Leeds City Council’s Herd Farm Activity Centre this week, to celebrate the Tour de France Grand Départ coming to Leeds this summer.

Pupils from Colton Primary School, Rodillian Academy and members of the South Leeds Youth Hub youth board, were the first to try out the brand new mountain bike trail, which makes its way around the perimeter of the 16 Acre Herd Farm site, overlooked by the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Thomas Murray and Lady Mayoress Mrs Edna Murray.

The Lord Mayor unveiled a plaque to commemorate the launch of the new mountain bike trail which goes the full circumference of Herd Farm site, along with a programme of Tour de France-themed residential packages, especially created for school and youth groups as part of the build-up to the Yorkshire Grand Départ.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Thomas Murray said:“This new trail is fantastic; the children from Colton Primary and Rodillian had a great time trying it out! We are really keen that the whole city is able to benefit from the Grand Départ coming to Leeds, and with new facilities like this we can ensure there is a lasting legacy of this amazing event.”

Councillor Judith Blake, executive member responsible for children’s services said: “Herd Farm provides a valuable resource for Leeds children and young people, giving them a chance to learn important life skills whilst having a great time.

“With this new mountain bike trail and all these great activities planned at Herd Farm, the children and young people of Leeds are really going to get be able to into the Tour de France spirit.”

Herd Farm overlooks the Tour de France route and, as part of the Council’s offer for children and young people to engage with the event, a variety of cycling activities and residential packages will take place from mid-March right through to the autumn. Activities range from mini Tour de France races and BMX challenges to cycle maintenance workshops and all-terrain mountain biking on the brand new mountain bike trail. Individual cycling sessions take in the Emmerdale TV set on the Harewood Estate, plus there will be Tour de Farm trails between Herd Farm and Lineham Farm. Herd Farm has a full range of mountain bikes and a purpose-built cycle compound for disabled riders, along with a range of adapted bikes, from trikes to quads.

Other activities on offer include arts and crafts, T-shirt printing, film nights, bush craft, high/low ropes, archery, giant swing and zip wire. Skilled and experienced staff can create bespoke programmes to suit each group’s unique needs and abilities. All activities are designed to recognise individual achievement while promoting team work and co-operation.

Herd Farm offers accommodation for up to 42 people. Residential stays which can be one, two or four night packages include meals freshly prepared by the on-site chef to each group’s dietary requirements. The Centre can also arrange transport to bring groups direct from/to their locations.

Notes to editors:
Herd Farm Residential Activity Centre, owned and run by Leeds City Council, makes a difference to children's and young people's lives by developing skills and building confidence through challenging indoor and outdoor activities provided by dedicated staff in a safe and inclusive environment. Since opening in 2000, thousands of local children and young people have benefitted from staying at this converted farmhouse set in 16 acres of woods and rolling farmland bordering the Harewood Estate. A recent finalist in the British Gas-sponsored Child Friendly Leeds Awards (Best Place for Children and Young People category), Herd Farm is seven miles from Leeds City Centre with easy access from the A61 Harrogate Road.

To book a residential stay or individual session, people can contact Herd Farm on: 0113 378 3088 or email:

For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713

Wonders of Asia coming to Leeds

Caption: A tiger puppet originally made to celebrate the Chinese New Year, which will feature in the new 'Voices of Asia' gallery from April 18. Picture credit: Courtesy of Leeds Museums and Galleries.

A spectacular new gallery showcasing Asian culture and Leeds’ links with the continent is set to open its doors for the very first time at a popular Leeds museum next month.

From April 18 2014, the ‘Voices of Asia’ gallery will be open to the public at Leeds City Museum, celebrating the sights, sounds, diversity and culture of Asia and the different Asian communities in Leeds that make-up the thriving multi-cultural city today. The new gallery, which sits on the ground floor of the museum in the World View Gallery, is the first major gallery refresh at the museum since it opened in 2008 and replaces the previous ‘Out of Africa’ gallery which showcased the city’s African collections.

The title ‘Voices of Asia’ was deliberately chosen to represent the many Asian communities that live within the city, the different languages spoken in the continent, and the passion for contemporary film that will be incorporated in the new displays. The displays, which have been planned in partnership with local Asian community groups as part of an Advisory Network, will stay in the space for around five years, but will change annually to reflect different projects, themes and world faiths.

Painstakingly researched and developed by the curatorial team with local organisations such as South Asian Arts UK, Leeds Hindu Mandir, Hamara, Jamyang Buddhist Centre, Leeds Asian Blind Association and Shantona at Leeds Museum and Galleries, the new gallery has been brought to life with great flair and imagination.

Visitors will be taken on a journey through seven themes, many of which will change over the five years that the gallery is set to last. These include; Faiths & Festivals; Trade & War; Fashion & Style; Music, Dance, Theatre & Film; Eating Out & Eating In and Faith in Focus. Fashion & Style will include a Gujarati tie-dye shawl, a Japanese Uchikake wedding robe, a Chinese dragon robe, and bridal wear from South Asia, while the first Faith in Focus will concentrate on Hinduism.

Leeds City Museum, which has welcomed approximately 1.5 million visitors through its doors since opening in 2008, is a free attraction located in the heart of the city on Millennium Square, just a short 10 minute walk from Leeds Railway Station. With four floors to explore and six galleries, the museum provides a comprehensive collection of objects relating to the history and modern age of both the local area and the wider world.

Full details of the exhibition can be found at Social media updates will be provided using the #VoicesOfAsia hashtag via Leeds Museums and Galleries’ social media accounts on Twitter ( and Facebook (

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for leisure and skills said:

"We are extremely looking forward to the opening of the new ‘Voices of Asia’ display at Leeds City Museum, which incorporating seven different themes, promises to the absolutely fantastic.

"A lot of effort has been undertaken by the Leeds Museums and Galleries staff with the city’s local Asian community to make sure this display captures the unique and sights and sounds of their culture and traditions, and it will be brilliant to see all of this hard work pay off from April 18."

Antonia Lovelace, curator of world cultures at Leeds Museums and Galleries, said:

"It’s really busy at the moment as we make the final preparations for the new ‘Voices of Asia’ gallery at Leeds City Museum.

"When we first opened the museum to the public in 2008 the World View gallery focused on Africa, with the title ‘Out of Africa’, showcasing our amazing African sculptures, masks, textiles and musical instruments. Now we are changing to ‘Voices of Asia’, which will be as much about Asia in Leeds as about Asia itself.

"With Leeds Asian culture highly visible in the city, in terms of restaurants and food choices, fashion and jewellery shops, world faiths and their religious buildings, and public performances of music, dance, and theatre, we have needed to look both outside and inside the museum building to make an exciting and relevant display."

Leeds City Museum –Free admission

Monday closed (except bank holiday Mondays 11am-5pm),
Tues, Wed and Fri 10am-5pm, Thurs 10am-7pm, Sat and Sun
Millennium Square, Cookridge Street, Leeds, LS2 8BH
Tel: 0113 2243732. Email:

Exhibits from ‘Out of Africa’ will be moved to the city’s Museum Discovery Centre once the display is closed, where items can be viewed by appointment.

For media enquiries, please contact;
Colin Dickinson, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 39 51578

By George, Barney’s Le Tour countdown clock design has got it!

Caption: An image of ‘The Grand Départ Mechanical Theatre’ (courtesy of Barney George/Leeds City Council)

Details of the unique clock design which will help Leeds count down to hosting the start of this year’s Tour de France have been revealed today.

The stylish and striking clock entitled ‘The Grand Départ Mechanical Theatre’ designed by local theatre designer Barney George was chosen by Leeds City Council as the choice to be the public countdown clock to Saturday 5 July, when the city will host the Grand Départ of the world’s largest annual sporting event.

Chosen from a host of entries submitted for the clock, the winning submission is now being turned into reality by students from the University of Leeds School of Mechanical Engineering before going on public display in the Trinity Leeds shopping complex.

The chosen design is a celebration of cycling directly inspired by the mechanics of a bicycle itself, featuring a giant steel cog with a range of moving miniature cyclists of all kinds from penny farthings to modern race bikes on its outside.

With the outer cog counting down days, at the same time three inner dials will be counting down hours, minutes and seconds. As the days progress more of the miniature riders are activated before they are all in motion together. As the countdown reaches zero, the finale will feature a series of chimes and confetti cannons to signal that the time of the Grand Départ has arrived.

Designer Barney George said:

“I'm thrilled to be part of the celebration of this world-renowned event."

The original plan was to have the clock in place in time to coincide with 100 days to go to the Grand Départ tomorrow, but such is the intricacy of the design and the level of precision required of the metal and woodwork detailing it will now be unveiled later in May.

Leeds City Council executive member for leisure and skills Councillor Lucinda Yeadon said:

“The creative community of Leeds did us proud as we had lots of amazing entries submitted which is a testament to the talent and creativity levels found in the city. Barney’s fantastic design caught the eye immediately as it looks amazing and is sure to be a real headturner for people to admire as they walk past in Trinity Leeds.

“We look forward to seeing the finished clock produced by Barney and the students at the University of Leeds soon as we continue to get ready to welcome the world to the start of the Tour de France here in Leeds.”

Gerald Jennings, Portfolio Director at Land Securities, the developer behind the Trinity Leeds shopping complex, said:

“We’re really proud to be hosting Barney’s winning design at Trinity Leeds so that millions of shoppers and passers-by will be able to see and enjoy it in action. This will be a momentous year for the city and one which is unlikely to ever happen again.”

Senior Teaching Fellow at the School of Mechanical Engineering, University of Leeds Dan Trowsdale said:

“The clock is a fantastic piece of design which will pose some technical challenges for the students at the university. Mechanical engineers and product designers from the Faculty of Engineering will be tasked with designing, programming and building a light-based countdown which will run through to race day.

“Using our 3D Computer Aided Design and 3D printing facilities we will also be designing and building a number of mechanical cycling ‘automata’ which will cycle at various times through the day. It is going to look amazing!”

To find out all the latest news and information for Leeds about the Tour de France visit or to sign up for alerts email

For the latest information on Yorkshire’s Grand Départ visit

Notes to editors:
The 2014 Tour de France begins in Leeds on Saturday 5 July, with stage one taking the riders 190kilometres to Harrogate.

Stage two on Sunday 6 July is 200km from York to Sheffield, while stage three on Monday 7 July is 159km from Cambridge to London.

It is estimated that 98 per cent of the population of Yorkshire will be within an hour of the route during its two days in the county, with the economic benefit expected to be in excess of £100m.

The University of Leeds is producing a programme of activities to celebrate the Grand Départ, including free public lectures. More information can be found on their website at


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde,
Leeds City Council press office,

Choose your spot as Leeds Grand Départ spectator zones revealed

Details of the official Grand Départ Spectator Hubs and leading locations to watch the start of this year’s Tour de France in Leeds have been revealed today.

Areas along the route will play host to dedicated spectator zones as the world’s largest annual sporting event travels out from its start in Leeds city centre on Saturday 5 July.

The locations named are the startline on The Headrow to Eastgate, Scott Hall Playing Fields, Harewood House, Pool in Wharfedale and Otley town centre before stage one of the world’s greatest cycle race leaves the city limits.

As the riders leave the startline on The Headrow at 11:10am on race morning to begin the ceremonial roll-out, they are expected to be cheered on by up to 45,000 people keen to see the historic moment as they make their way to Eastgate and then left onto Regent Street and Sheepscar Street.

Heading up the A61 the peloton will pass an official Grand Départ Spectator Hub at Scott Hall Playing Fields, where up to 10,000 people are likely to be watching. The free family-friendly hub will feature a big screen showing live coverage of the race before and after it passes by, as well as stage entertainment and activities for children including British Cycling’s ‘Go Ride’ programme. There will also be access for those with disabilities, on-site parking and food stalls.

As the riders reach the Harewood Estate they will pass a charged-for spectator zone as part of the Dare 2b Yorkshire Festival of Cycling, before the race itself will officially get underway as the peloton leaves the estate and follows the A659.

With the race action underway, the community-organised spectator zone at Pool in Wharfedale will be one of the first places on the route to see the riders competitively getting up to speed and is likely to attract up to 6,000 spectators. This zone will be offering camping facilities and a wide range of family entertainment and food throughout the day and the chance to watch the race unfold on a large temporary screen.

The route shortly after then rolls into Otley, where the town centre with its rich cycling history is expected to be packed with up to 15,000 keen spectators. Facilities here will include a double-sided big screen while the cafes and bars are all likely to be open with cycle racks also available.

The route then continues on leaving the Leeds city limits and on to Ilkley and Skipton before heading into the Yorkshire Dales, returning via Ripon to the stage finish in Harrogate.

Two hours before the riders arrive at each location, fans will be able to enjoy the unique 180-vehicle publicity ‘caravan’ offering free gifts and promotional items to those at the roadside as it passes.

Leeds City Council executive member for leisure and skills Councillor Lucinda Yeadon said:

“The countdown to the Grand Départ in Leeds is getting really exciting now, and the release of the spectator zone locations will only add to that. While these zones are great places to watch from, especially for families, we would encourage people to spread out along the route as much as possible. That way, not only will you get a better view, it will also look amazing on television if the entire route through Leeds is filled with people at the roadside all the way along.

“The named hubs and spectator zones are expected to be incredibly popular, so our key message for all spectators will be choose where you want to be, get there early and make a day of it celebrating what is sure to be an amazing ‘I was there’ moment for Leeds.”

For the latest details on the Tour de France in Leeds visit or sign up for email alerts at

To find out about all the spectator hubs for the Grand Départ and the latest information visit


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde,
Leeds City Council press office,