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High-profile events get £195,000 in city council support
PLANS to invest £195,000 into four major Worcester events have been backed by councillors - who say they want to "put the city on the map".
The city's Labour leadership has given the green light to help fund big cycling, running and basketball events in Worcester, as well as an historic military parade.
As your Worcester News revealed last week, it includes the world-renowned Tour of Britain race, with a stage set to take place in the Faithful City for the first time since 2008.
During a cabinet meeting, councillors said the spending was aimed at boosting tourism, raising Worcester's profile on the national stage and helping the city's economy.
Councillor Adrian Gregson, the leader, said he wanted people to "have some fun".
"All of these events provide an opportunity for people to support the city and invest in a range of high-profile activities," he said.
"We've had the Tour of Britain before (in 2008), but since then the profile of cycling has increased dramatically.
"We're very pleased the organisers have approached us to confirm Worcester will host a stage start."
He also said the body behind the Worcester City 10KM, City Bike Run and Worcester City Young Athletes Run, a trio of events planned for Sunday September 21, were ambitious about it.
"It's the same people behind the Great North Run and they believe it can become part of the country's running calendar," he said.
"The aim around all of this is to put Worcester on the map again by creating two or three different ways to attract different people in."
During the debate Councillor Marc Bayliss, deputy Conservative group leader, called upon the leadership to ensure the running events involved local people instead of becoming "part of the general running cycle."
He said two 5K and 10K runs in Warndon villages morphed into events for national runners without much local input.
Cllr Gregson said the events are aimed at "trying to do both", saying "it needs a local buy-in" to become a success.
The 11th annual Tour of Britain will come to Worcester on Wednesday, September 10 and Thursday, September 11.
And on Saturday, August 16 the 214 Battery Royal Artillery 150th anniversary parade will take place, exercising its freedom of the city to stage a regimental parade followed by an event at Pitchcroft.
On top of the running, to complete the quartet of events European Wheelchair Basketball Championships will take place at the Worcester Arena in 2015.
Councillor Lynn Denham, cabinet member for community engagement, said: "For a relatively modest investment there are so many benefits - this feels like a vibrant city, I think it's brilliant."
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