A COLOURFUL display of children’s art which had been created for the UCI World Cycling Championships has come down after the route was diverted to avoid Swaledale due to heavy rain.

The race was due to come through Reeth on Sunday, September 29 for the Men’s Elite Road Race, but heavy rain the night before meant it was diverted via Leyburn.

But artwork created by 20 local children was still erected on a large scaffold at the top of Reeth Green, and despite it not being on show to millions across the world, it has taken pride of place for the last week.

Richmondshire District Councillor and Reeth resident, Richard Good, said he had the idea to engage local children in the UCI Championships with art workshops over a weekend in the summer.

He said: “It is a great shame the race had to be diverted away from Swaledale. Many of the communities were really gearing up for it, and businesses here had planned for extra tourists. It was meant to be something to celebrate after we had been so badly affected by flooding in July, but ironically more heavy rainfall stopped it.

“The children really took the art challenge to heart though and all the paintings looks fantastic. We still got the caravans coming through Reeth on Sunday morning so the children all got plenty of freebies and sweets, so they enjoyed it.

“The display was arranged so it would be been visible to the cameras on helicopters, to tell the world Swaledale was back open for business, but it was not meant to be.”

Stuart Price, who runs the Dales Bike Centre in nearby Fremington, said his team made the best of a bad situation. There was no further flooding and it was just normal October weather, but it was bad timing and it was disappointing the race didn’t come through Swaledale.”

Cllr Good added: “It was a blow to people who are still recovering from the floods. Local farmer Paul Brown is organising a wall-a-thon to help rebuild the drystone walls between Fremington and Reeth, because farmers can’t do it all themselves, and insurance payments are taking some time in many cases.

“It will take place on Saturday, October 19 and Sunday, October 20, and any wallers are welcome to come and help. The national park organised a similar event in Arkengarthdale and it was successful.”