Cycling champion helps Leeds gear up for Christmas

Brian Robinson. PIC: Tony Johnson
Brian Robinson. PIC: Tony Johnson
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Legendary Yorkshire cyclist Brian Robinson is helping Leeds gear up for Christmas.

The 83-year-old, who claimed the title of being the first Briton to win a stage of the Tour de France, flicked the switch to light up a festive tree made entirely of bicycles.

The unusual tree has parked up on Wonderwood in Holbeck Urban Village and was designed by award-winning architect Sarah Wigglesworth.

Putting an original spin on recycling, the ‘tree-cycle’ is made from 35 recycled bicycle wheels.

The tree, which has been commissioned by Igloo Regeneration Partnership, is helping the city to mark and celebrate Yorkshire’s role as the host of the Grand Depart next year.

Rachel Hopwell from Igloo said: “We’d like to say thank you to Brian, a true inspiration for generations of cyclists, for joining us to switch on our Christmas lights.

“We felt this was the perfect time to put the wheels back in motion and for the tree to take root here on Wonderwood – not just for Christmas, but for the duration of the Tour in Yorkshire next year. “This felt like the perfect opportunity for the tree to make a reappearance and to remind people working in and visiting the area to get on their bikes next year in celebration of the Tour De France coming to Yorkshire, which is a huge coup for the region.”

Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, added: “This is a wonderful way of celebrating cycling through art and indeed Yorkshire’s Grand Depart.

“And what better time to ‘plant’ it than Christmas – it looks stunning lit up. ”

Mirfield.  4th February 1976''Battling Thomas, Mirfield Station's official cat, gets a meal from leading railwayman Nigel Stead today after a successful drive to raise cash to pay his vet's bill.''Thomas got into a scrap and lost an eye . . . but there was no cash in the kitty to pay the vet's bill.''So Thomas's friends a the station put up the notice in the picture asking for gifts.  Now after just a week they received �10.50 towards the �27.50 bill.''Thomas, who wandered into the station 12 years ago as a half-starved stray, is on the British Rail payroll.''Each month he receives an official allowance of �1.60 to pay for his weeekly fare of a pinta and five tins of meat.  On top of that Mrs. Barbara Ward, who works at Batley Station, sends an express delivery of half a pound of minced meat.''Mr. Stead (26), who is honorary keeper of the cat, said "He lost his eye in late December.  The bill was larger than we expected, so we invited donations.  British Rail has promised to make up any shortfall."

Yorkshire nostalgia: The stray cat who lost an eye and ended up earning £1.60 a week from British Rail