Tour of Britain cycles into history at Pewsey Carnival

Written by Peter Davison.


Kitty King - image courtesy of Pewsey Heritage CentreKitty King - image courtesy of Pewsey Heritage CentreCycling stars Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish will be taking a trip down memory lane when they cycle through Pewsey on 12 September - more than 100 years after Kitty King started the first Pewsey Carnival on her bike.

The Friends Life Tour of Britain arrives in Pewsey during Carnival fortnight with the village decorated in bunting and shops competing in a window dressing competition for the Kunkler Cup.

And Wiltshire Council plans to line the route with gold bikes similar to the yellow ones used to promote the Tour de France in Yorkshire earlier this year.

Pewsey Carnival was inspired by a bicycle procession in France watched by one the Goddard brothers, who owned a cycle shop in the village, and believed it would help to raise money for Savernake Hospital.

Now more than 100 of the world's top cyclists will come to the village which witnessed Kitty King starting the first carnival on her decorated bike in 1898.

The riders will also have a perfect view of a modern ephemeral community art project as community artist Sue Faux leads both young people and adults in decorating the route on the eve of the race as part of the Have-a-Go project.

Wiltshire Council, Pewsey Carnival and the Pewsey Community Area Partnership (PCAP) support Have-a-Go with Wiltshire Youth Services which aims to offer free activities for 13 to 17 year olds across the Pewsey community area during Carnival fortnight.

Dawn Wilson, chairman of PCAP said: “I volunteered on the inaugural Have-a-Go project last year and when I heard the Friends Life Tour of Britain was passing through Pewsey during Carnival I realised this was a unique opportunity to do something colourful that could bring the community together as part of this project as well as promoting Pewsey Vale itself and adding more colour for the Carnival.

"After talking to Wiltshire’s Highways about ‘Pavement painting’ on the road itself to celebrate the Carnival and the Tour of Britain I am delighted that it is being offered as part of the Have-a-Go menu of activities during the evening of September 11 when the Carnival lights are turned on.”

The High Street in Pewsey is one of the roads that will be closed for the Carnival lights to be switched on and Wiltshire Council Local Highways Team have supported the project to produce “road art” which will disappear over a few weeks but is set to be captured by TV crews following the race and screened to a nationwide audience.

Pewsey's U3A photography club are planning to photograph the tour as it passes through the village.

Jerry Kunkler, Wiltshire Council’s portfolio holder for leisure and sport, said: “The Friends Life Tour of Britain is delivering the perfect opportunity to highlight Pewsey and to promote the excellent work going on in the community.

“What better incentive than to have the ‘road art’ featured on national television?”