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Tour de France: Race brings massive boost to Essex

Thousands of people flocked to Finchingfield to watch the Tour de France go through.

Thousands of people flocked to Finchingfield to watch the Tour de France go through.

Archant

An estimated one million people lined the streets of Essex to watch the Tour de France come through.

Officials hope more mahor sporting events could come to Essex in the future after the county successfully hosted the Tour de France.

Stage three of the world’s biggest cycle race travelled through much of the county on its way between Cambridge and London in what has been billed “a historic day”.

Many thousands of people lined the streets of Essex to cheer on the riders as they came through, with an estimated one million watching along the entire length.

Ann Naylor, county councillor for public health and wellbeing, said: “This has been an amazing day for Essex.

“The colour and atmosphere to celebrate the Tour has shown the world our fantastic county. The turnout was wonderful with so many people supporting the Tour in Essex.

“Billions have watched the race on TV around the world and can only have been impressed by our idyllic landscape and enthusiastic residents and visitors.

“It was a truly historic day”

Gary Sullivan, chairman of Active Essex, added: “It has been a fantastic day for sport in Essex.

“I believe it will lead to more major sporting events coming to our county in the future.”

The Red Lion pub in Finchingfield had live music on after the racing, as well as cycling on the TV screens.

Landlord Peter Rollings said: “It has been great, absolutely brilliant. We opened at 8am and it has been busy ever since.

“It’s a totally vibe to having the world cup on, there’s a buoyant, festival atmosphere.

“We had a lady over from Norway and a few down from Yorkshire, people came here from all over the place.

“It is a great boost for the pub’s takings, and for everyone across the village I would imagine.”

Zahra Tyler,who co-owns Zafra Pasta Bar & Grill with her chef husband Frank, said they had served hundreds of people, if not a thousand.

She said: “We would not normally open on a Monday, but have been serving people since 6am.”Rita Grabowski, owner of Bosworth’s Tea Rooms and Finchingfield resident, added: “The atmopshere has just been fantastic.

“We opened at 6am and had a few people in, but it picked up as the day went on.

“We were as busy as a Sunday, but it is a Monday, so definitely a boost.

“All the staff stopped working to watch the caravan and the racing.

“We would be really happy to see it come through again, or similar events, we’ve never had anything like this.”

Peter Tattersley, deputy councillor for people and participation at Braintree District Council, said: “It was great to see so many people turn up to watch this once-in-a lifetime experience.

“The event and TV coverage showcased the beautiful villages and countryside within the district and I’m sure this will inspire visitors to return in the future.”

There were hundreds of happy faces as university students from Suffolk graduated at St Edmundsbury Cathedral in Bury St Edmunds at the weekend.

Six beach huts in an Essex seaside town have been ravaged by fire after a blaze last night.

Police are urging people to come forward with information following a rape in Colchester and have released an efit image of a man they want to trace in connection with the incident.

New parliamentary constituency proposals have been published – which show that in Suffolk the Tories may well have held Ipswich if the new boundaries had been in place at the general election.

A female arrested on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life following a house fire in Ipswich has been released on police bail.

Storm Ophelia will see winds reach speeds of up to 80mph on exposed coastlines as amber weather warnings are issued for Northern Ireland, but East Anglia will avoid dangerous weather.

Two charities in Bury St Edmunds are set to benefit from a glittering night out featuring top stars and entertainers.

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