The man who bought the Tour de France – and millions of spectators – to Yorkshire is a disappointing omission that will surprise and dismay many in this county who continue to be in awe of his enthusiasm and determination.
This county would not have enjoyed the privilege of hosting the world’s best cyclists without the indefatigable Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive who refused to take ‘no’ for an answer when Ministers wanted Edinburgh to stage the Grand Départ ahead of the Scottish independence referendum. Many thought his efforts were worthy of a knighthood.
Mr Verity will, of course, be the first to say that he presided over a team effort – this is highlighted by the MBE awarded to Leeds City Council’s Tour co-ordinator Peter Smith – but such a notable oversight cannot pass without comment or criticism. After all, Derek Bearhop, Francesa Osowska, Jon Doig and Diane McLafferty, together with various council bigwigs, have all been recognised for their leadership roles with Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games. They are amongst a lengthy list of sports administrators to be celebrated. Yet, while these recipients are worthy, it still does not excuse the decision to snub Mr Verity – or the team who supported him.
He not only presided over the most successful Grand Départ in history, but has spent the best part of a decade transforming Yorkshire’s tourism industry into one of this region’s biggest success stories. Even the chairman of VisitScotland received an OBE last night.
What more does Mr Verity have to do before his efforts are formally recognised by his country?