Leeds Back the Bid scarfs donated to homeless

England may have been left out in the cold with the failure of its bid to host the 2018 World Cup – but the decision will at least be leaving some Leeds residents with a warm glow.

Marketing Leeds, the council-backed body which promotes the profile of the city, had come up with the idea of creating the world's longest scarf to promote Leeds's role as a potential host for the football bonanza.

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The plan was to wind the giant woolly – made of hundreds if individually-knitted scarves – around Elland Road in 2018.

With that target in mind, Marketing Leeds had organised several residents and community groups to start knitting already.

But with football bosses at Fifa controversially kicking England into touch, marketing chiefs feared they may be left with an unwanted wool surplus.

So now they are donating the 80 completed Back the Bid multicoloured scarfs to St George's Crypt, the charity which this year has been celebrating 80 years of helping the homeless and destitute of Leeds.

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Deborah Green, chief executive of Marketing Leeds said: "Leeds was honoured to be selected as a host city as part of the England World Cup 2018 bid.

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"The city has a proud sporting heritage and has actively supported England through the bid process. We would like to thank the local community for coming together to support the campaign and knit so many scarves.

"We have demonstrated that we can pull together and now support future opportunities. St George's Crypt is a well respected charity within Leeds and I know that our knitters are delighted that the scarves will brighten someone's Christmas."

Crypt fundraising director Martin Patterson said: "We are thrilled. Eighty scarfs would be a good figure as we have been running our 80

Campaign to mark our 80 years.

"Many people have been disappointed with England's failure to land the World Cup, but with the bad weather we have been having, it could not be a better gesture. England's loss is the Crypt's gain."

Mr Patterson added: "I have been very encouraged by the number of people who have remembered us in these difficult times.

"The other day someone came in and gave us a gift of 80, 1 for every year we have been running.

"David Cameron may talk of the Big Society but we have been doing the Big Society here for years."

Coun Adam Ogilvie, Leeds City Council's executive board member for leisure, said: "It was disappointing that England was not named as the host country for the World Cup, especially after all the hard work in

Leeds.

"A lot of people gave up their time and by donating these scarves to the Crypt, we will ensure they are put to the best use."