'Henry of Hetton' scarecrow welcomes Tour of Britain cycling race into Sunderland
A specially made scarecrow has been made to welcome riders and visitors this afternoon as the Tour of Britain cycling Race passes through Sunderland.
Stage Three of the Tour of Britain cycle race kicked off at Durham’s cathedral and castle on Owengate this morning (Tuesday, September 6) as the Tour makes its first ever visit to Sunderland.
Cyclists will head through Bishop Auckland, Hetton and Houghton before arriving in Sunderland and finishing at the new City Hall.
Residents in Hetton have been preparing for the big day by creating a scarecrow, named Henry of Hetton, who is set to welcome people into the town.
Chair of Events and special Occasions on Hetton Town Council, Donna Thomas says the town is “very excited” about the event.
She said: “We are all so excited and wanted to welcome everyone into Hetton and that’s what Henry is all about. He is standing at the Moorsley and District hut so everyone can see him as the race passes the town.
"It’s fantastic that the race is coming to Sunderland, we have local school children involved and everyone is invited for a cup of tea. We’re the only town council in Sunderland so it’s lovely to see the community coming together. If you see Henry, make sure to give him a wave!”
While it’s the modern race’s first visit to Sunderland, the city has previously welcomed the Milk Race – a semi-professional forerunner of the Tour of Britain – on multiple occasions during its 35-year history.
Donna added: “Everyone remembers the Milk Race so I think we will have a lot of people turning out to watch the Tour of Britain race. It’s set to be a brilliant day.”
Spectators can watch all the action by the roadside for free, but race day hospitality packages are also on offer as ITV4 will be on hand to broadcast live flag-to-flag coverage.
Councillor Claire Rowntree, Deputy Leader of Sunderland City Council, said: "The Tour is a hugely popular event and it promises to be a brilliant day out for residents and visitors alike. The sheer spectacle of over 100 of the world's best riders racing through our city will truly be a sight to behold.”
The race will pass through Hetton from 1.45pm and will end at approximately 3.20pm this afternoon at the new City Hall in Sunderland.