June 13: Arise Sir Gary Verity – Yorkshire’s latest Knight

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THE KNIGHTHOOD being bestowed upon Welcome to Yorkshire supremo Sir Gary Verity, the visionary chief executive who brought the Tour de France to this region in such spectacular style, could not be more deserving – or indicative of a Queen’s Birthday Honours list which recognises many of those unsung heroes who contribute so much to the vitality of God’s own county.

This is a self-made man – he will be the first to admit that he did not enjoy a privileged upbringing – who has then used his business acumen, and wider experiences on his own journey through life, to become one of this county’s most influential advocates because of a steadfast refusal to take ‘no’ for an answer.

Without his perseverance, Yorkshire would not have hosted the greatest Grand Départ in the Tour de France’s illustrious history or staged a three-day cycle race last month that will only grow in stature and prestige. And, without his persistence, this county would not now be integral to the Northern Powerhouse agenda being pursued by the Government – Yorkshire now matters, once again, in the corridors of power.

But perhaps the most important point is this. This accolade simply would not have been possible without so many people embracing the Tour – and then supporting the race in such unprecedented numbers last summer. In essence, this revived Yorkshire spirit epitomises the Honours List – Yorkshire would be a much poorer place without the self-sacrifice of those people, from headline names to the dedicated volunteers in local communities, who continue to go the extra mile for the benefit of others. Long may this continue.