Sheffield’s Heather awaits the world cycling past her doorstep

Heather Tingle at the Flask End Cafe in Low Bradfield which will benefit from the Tour De France coming through the area in July 2014
Heather Tingle at the Flask End Cafe in Low Bradfield which will benefit from the Tour De France coming through the area in July 2014

HEATHER Tingle was this week anticipating a rush on hot chocolate and teacakes as walkers took a break from tramping through the snow around Bradfield.

Once a customer, she took over the cafe, shop and post office in Low Bradfield last June, changing its name from The Postcard Cafe to Flask End in a nod to nearby Dam Flask and the refreshment needs of customers.

She can expect a much bigger rush in July, 2014.

The Tour de France will pass through the village on part of the Grand Départ from York to Sheffield.

The provisional route runs via Langsett, Bradfield, Oughtibridge, Grenoside, Parson Cross, Fox Hill, Wadsley Bridge, Fir Vale and Wincobank, ending up at the Sheffield Arena.

Bradfield has earned a name for its annual music festival in the church at High Bradfield, but this will be an opportunity to raise the profile of the area to new heights as the world’s top cyclists, along with media and spectators, take to the hills and valleys in the north of Sheffield.

Deputy Prime Minister and Hallam MP Nick Clegg, who enthused about the appeal of Bradfield for visitors in the run-up to the Olympic Games, said: “The Tour has a worldwide television audience of 3.5bn people and it is shown in over 188 countries. It will be a great chance to showcase Sheffield and provide a boost to the economy.”

And Bradfield aims to make the most of its opportunity.

“It’s very exciting,” says Heather. “We get a lot of cyclists here anyway, and they were anxiously awaiting the news. It will be great for Bradfield, and will showcase the beautiful scenery. When people think of walking, they think of the Peak District, and Bradfield is in it, although it’s something of a hidden gem. Hopefully the Tour De France will do something for walking as well as cycling.”

Parish councillor Amanda Holmes said: “It’s great news that one of the biggest sporting events in the world will be taking in the beautiful scenery around Bradfield. It’s a huge event for our area and I’m sure we’ll be looking at how we can celebrate and mark the event now we know its coming through the parish.”

It is estimated the Tour will being around £10m to Yorkshire as a result of the successful bid by tourism agency Welcome to Yorkshire.

Sheffield Chamber of Commerce executive director Richard Wright described it as “a real coup for the city region to have the finish in Sheffield. The end of the day’s race is what the world watches and this provides an opportunity to market ourselves on a global stage.

“The economic benefits will be tremendous with millions of pounds being generated for local businesses. I hope it will give our population the feelgood factor that the Olympics achieved nationally.

“Also, this will be our chance to show to the world that Sheffield continues to set the future agenda by using sport to invest in the future and advance the population’s health and well-being through developments such as the National Centre for Exercise and Sport Medicine. Sheffield is investing in the future with new sporting and activity facilities, despite closing some of the existing ones, and exploiting the venues we have that are fit for purpose. “The world moves on and the city has to move too to ensure it continues to break new ground. We are renowned for innovation and entrepreneurialism and it looks like that will continue.”

Back in snowbound Bradfield, it was business as usual for Heather Tingle, keeping villagers supplied with bread and milk and welcoming walkers to her tiny cafe (room for eight with an outside overflow for ten).

She is open every day except Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, so she doesn’t get much time off. “I don’t mind at all. It’s glorious out here and when it’s quiet I can always nip out for a walk.”

There won’t be much time for that when the Tour passes the doorstep in the summer of 2014, although the demand for hot chocolate and teacakes may have eased.