Blazin' Saddles

Tour de France volunteers advised against being ‘too northern’

Blazin' Saddles

View photo


The organisers of ‘Le Tour Yorkshire - Grand Depart 2014’ have had to move to quell a brewing storm after it was revealed that they had advised volunteers not to be “too northern”, reports The Northern Echo.

As with the Olympics before it, the fine people of England have come forward in their droves - 12,000 to be precise - to offer their services in a voluntary capacity when the world’s most prestigious stage race gets underway on July 5th 2014.

An event of such grandeur is demanding of fastidious preparations and the Grand Depart has been no different. However, an online video that has been used to prepare the volunteers has caused consternation amongst some of Yorkshire patrons.

The video in question opens with the usual gambit of advice about being confident, welcoming and warm but then advises against staples of the Yorkshire dialect such as “love”, “mate” or “darling”.

The reason? Well, “They may sound friendly to you, but they could offend some people.”

This revelation has led to a furious response, led by veteran broadcaster and Tyke, Michael Parkinson.

“I have never heard of anything as daft in my life. They are trying to ban a word that is a classic term of endearment in the north and everyone know it. Absolutely unbelieveable,” he was quoted as saying.

However, Welcome to Yorkshire, the counties tourism agency, were quick to release a firm rebuke of the perceived slight, claiming that, “The Grand Depart of the Tour de France will celebrate everything Yorkshire, including our dialect, but we want to be careful not to cause confusion for our overseas visitors.''

What do you think? Is this madness? Or do the organisers have a fair point? Should the locals change to meet the needs of those who are set to visit Yorkshire during the Depart? Let us know in the comments section below.

View comments (50)