Today’s Star Columnist: Brendan Ingle

Brendan Ingle
Brendan Ingle

For as long as I live, it will be one of my most memorable days.

On the day the Tour de France came to Sheffield, the streets through Wincobank and Brightside were crammed with thousands of people. Flags, bunting and banners adorned the streets. The race put us on the world stage and we didn’t disappoint.

The atmosphere was electric.

Wincobank and Brightside had not seen such crowds on the streets since the end of the war. In the lead up to the Grand Depart they said the race was passing through some of the most deprived areas of Sheffield. Others argued that the route should be changed in favour of the more picturesque and presumably more affluent parts of the city. The organisers made it clear the Côte de Wincobank, on Jenkin Road had to be included. It was not negotiable. With a 33% gradient it was the steepest climb of any section of the whole Tour de France route. It was unique.

The community rose to the occasion. The festival on Wincobank Hill the day before the race was a sight to behold. The Friends of Wincobank Hill and Sandstone Residents’ Association had worked with the local schools, churches, youth groups and businesses to create an outstanding event for hundreds of attendees.

When others label us deprived, I smile to myself. I wouldn’t live anywhere else.

Wincobank is a tourist destination. When I say that, people laugh. But how many other Sheffield suburbs have their own hotel? When I’m walking around, I meet people from all over the world that have come here to visit. They want to see the scheduled Iron Age hill fort on Wincobank Hill, the ancient woodlands with their stunning bluebell carpets and they want to walk the Trans Pennine Trail.

We have the River Don and Blackburn Brook running through the valley. It’s where our world famous steel industry was born. The Source and Meadowhall complex provide city centre shopping, employment and training on our doorstep. The transport interchange delivers rail, tram and bus services within walking distance.

The Tour de France has put Wincobank on the world map again and the crowds willkeep coming.