VIDEO: Masham welcomes Tour de France

Masham was buzzing with visitors who gave a rapturous Yorkshire welcome to the Grand Depart stage one on Saturday.

Thousands flocked to the small market town, which hit the headlines after Harrogate Council officials demanded that hand knitted jersey bunting be removed from lampposts for fear, if rain soaked, they might make the structures bend.

Masham. Tour de France decorations. Picture Bruce Rollinson

Masham. Tour de France decorations. Picture Bruce Rollinson

Information officer at the Mashamshire Community Office said: “It was the best publicity for Masham ever. Harrogate Council did us a huge favour.

“People have been coming up to us and offering to buy a piece of the bunting to take home with them.”

He said hotels and guest houses were booked up as soon as the Tour route was announced but people had still been turning up to find accommodation.

“We had just been directing them to the next nearest place to stay, sometimes miles away.

“The campsites have been popular too.”

The Saturday market stalls and shops throughout the town were kept busy, even after the race had passed through..

Masham art gallery owner Josie Beszant said it was the biggest event the region had seen in her 21 years of trading in the town.

“Masham is used to putting on big events but it is nice to have the increased publicity of the Grand Depart.”

Spectators picked their spot along the route as early as 7am while others watched the race progress on one of two big screens at special visitor parks.

In true British style there were people wearing yellow, from t-shirts to wigs, and waving flags and banners all waiting for the arrival of the peloton of the World’s most famous cycle race.

When the cyclists finally arrived it was given a huge welcome as it sped through the town’s roads which were lined by spectators, sometimes ten or more deep in places.

Even after the race had passed through most turned to watch the remainder the stage finish in Harrogate, on the big screen.

Masham’s Grand Depart party was not over yet.