There’s lots to celebrate in Bentham this month as Yorkshire prepares for the Grand Depart of the Tour de France.
A community led carnival on Saturday May 31 is one of the headline events of the Yorkshire Festival, and Bentham arts and health charity, Pioneer Projects, and Carnival Bentham, have come together to present Carnival Bentham by Bike.
The Carnival will launch the Bentham Bike Loop with a five mile family bike ride, and the unveiling of its first piece of public sculpture by the bridge at Low Bentham.
The two metre high sculpture, by artist Marjan Wouda, hangs high in a tree and takes the form of a giant pair of ladies bloomers. Bentham has a history of silk weaving – the story goes that the silk woven in Low Bentham was used to make Queen Victoria’s underwear. They were called bloomers after Lady Amelia Bloomer promoted the idea of women abandoning their petticoats for a pair of baggy trousers that reached to the ankle so Victorian ladies could safely take up the new sport of cycling.
A second design by Marjan of a fat sheep on a bike has been incorporated into a waymarking sign for the Bentham Bike Loop.
A third design called Spot the Trout takes the form of a shoal of metal fish which are being made by the artist and in community workshops at Looking Well, Pioneer Project’s base in Bentham.
The project came about as part of the development of the Morecambe to Bridlington Way of the Roses cycle route. Pioneer Projects was invited to create the first Passing Place where cyclists can take a detour to visit local communities and the Queens Bloomers is the first art work to be completed. Carnival Bentham starts at 11.45am from Bentham Railway Station to unveil the Queens Bloomers in Low Bentham at midday, it will get to High Bentham at 1.30pm, with paraders dressed to match the themes of giant bloomers, fish and sheep on bikes.