Charlie to fly the flag for the Ribble Valley

Ribble Valley Mayor Coun. Bridget Hilton with Charlie Birtwistle, who is a pupil at Whalley CE Primary School and has won a competition to design the start flag for Stage 2 of the 2015 Aviva Tour of Britain. (s)
Ribble Valley Mayor Coun. Bridget Hilton with Charlie Birtwistle, who is a pupil at Whalley CE Primary School and has won a competition to design the start flag for Stage 2 of the 2015 Aviva Tour of Britain. (s)

Whalley youngster Charlie Birtwistle will fly the flag for Ribble Valley on Monday, September 7th, when the borough hosts Stage 2 of the 2015 Aviva Tour of Britain.

The nine-year-old Whalley CE Primary School pupil is to help Ribble Valley Mayor Bridget Hilton start the race after winning a competition to design the start flag.

The world’s top cyclists and tens of thousands of spectators look set to descend on Ribble Valley and Pendle in September, when the two boroughs host the top event, which will see 20 of the world’s top cycling teams, including Olympic and world champions, and Tour de France stage winners, power through Ribble Valley and Pendle on a tough 162km circular route from Clitheroe to Colne.

A competition to design the start flag attracted over 100 entries from youngsters at primary schools throughout the borough.

Charlie’s winning design features Clitheroe Castle, Pendle Hill, the River Ribble and a witch wearing the Tour of Britain colours of red, white and blue, while riding a bike with Union Jack wheels.

Ribble Valley Mayor Coun. Bridget Hilton said: “The Tour of Britain attracts a huge following, as well as an international television audience, so is the ideal showcase for Ribble Valley and Pendle’s many attractions.

“The standard of entries for the competition was exceptionally high, with some fantastic designs, many featuring bicycles, Pendle Hill, the River Ribble and of course witches.

“Charlie’s design was particularly fabulous, with some great humour, including a witch wearing red, white and blue, and riding a bike with Union Jack wheels. I am looking forward to seeing his design made into a flag and would like to thank all the schools and their pupils that took part in the competition.”

Charlie will join Coun. Hilton at the start of Stage 2 in Clitheroe town centre at 11 am on Monday, September 7th.

He said: “I made a list of all the famous things in Ribble Valley and spent three whole days working on the picture. I like cycling and art, and am so thrilled to have won the competition. I can’t wait for the race.”

After departing Clitheroe, the race will complete a clockwise route via the Nick o’ Pendle, Longride, Dunsop Bridge and Slaidburn in the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, before heading into Pendle via Barnoldswick and Earby, briefly returning to Clitheroe, then on to Whalley, Nelson and the finish in Colne.

The 2015 Aviva Tour of Britain will be broadcast internationally by 16 television channels across 139 territories in Europe, Australia and the USA. ITV will screen three hours of live coverage every day and a one-hour highlights programme at night.

Charlie’s winning design and other entries to the competition will be displayed at the Ribble Valley Borough Council Offices in Church Walk, Clitheroe, from the middle of August.