A couple are trying to trace a tourist from York they photographed in France in 1985

As Peter Branch points out, back in 1985 it was far more difficult to find somebody than it is now.

Mr Critchlow, or Critchley, from York, photographed by the Tommy Simpson memorial on Mont Ventoux in 1985
Mr Critchlow, or Critchley, from York, photographed by the Tommy Simpson memorial on Mont Ventoux in 1985

A trail that went cold has led to 35-year-old photographs of a mystery man from York being stored in Peter's attic in Hertfordshire ever since they were developed.

In 1985, Peter, his wife Susan and their children were on holiday in France whent they decided to visit Mont Ventoux, a mountain on the Tour de France route and a pilgrimage site for cycling fans.

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The family stopped to look at the memorial to Tommy Simpson, the cyclist from Harworth, near Doncaster, who died while competing in the race in 1967.

While there, a lone English cyclist arrived and asked them to take a photograph of him by the shrine. Peter, a keen amateur photographer, was happy to oblige and the pair exchanged contact details so that he could send the print on when they had returned home.

"I agreed, took the photograph and he gave us his address. But when we got back to England the piece of paper with his address had been lost. All we could remember was that he came from York and was called Critchlow - or possibly Critchley," explained Peter.

"I made a number of attempts to trace him, but communication was not so easy in those days. The trail went cold and I forgot about it."

With plenty of time on his hands during lockdown, Peter, who worked for Kodak for 40 years before retiring in 2000, has been sorting through his old pictures and came across a box of slides. When he found the photos from Mont Ventoux, he remembered the promise he had been unable to keep.

"Being there clearly meant a lot to him and I felt bad about letting him down. So I have scanned the slide and hope someone might be able to help identify him. It would be wonderful if at long last he were able to receive a copy of the photograph."

The photograph has added poignance as the couple's two children, Rebecca and David, later developed a lifelong interest in the sport, although their parents were not keen cyclists and the day out on Mont Ventoux happened because Susan was a geography teacher. David has cycled L'Alpe d'Huez, another famous stretch of the Tour's route.

After the cyclist left them, Peter snapped another, covert, shot of him riding away. They managed to pinpoint the date of the encounter to Saturday August 17, 1985 by checking diaries Susan had kept of the holiday.

If you recognise the man, contact Cycling UK on [email protected]