An opera charting the life of Scunthorpe cyclist Lal White, a steelworker who won Olympic silver for Great Britain in the team pursuit at Antwerp in 1920, has officially been given the go-ahead after securing £70,000 in funding.
The work, called The Cycle Opera, in which 2,000 people will participate, also covers cycling’s heritage in the region surrounding the North Lincolnshire town. It has been commissioned under the Yorkshire and Humber region’s Olympic legacy intiative, called imove.
The libretto has been written by poet Ian McMillan, based on responses to an appeal last year by organiser Sue Hollingworth for locals to get in touch and relate their stories of the cyclist. The score has been written by Tim Sutton, a judge on BBC3’s Choir of the Year.
Project manager Kirsty Halliday told the website This Is Scunthorpe: "It's incredibly exciting and it's a really big challenge for all of us.
"It's such a big project and we're all absolutely delighted to be involved in it," she continued.
"It's real now because the funding was the spur to make it happen and it's fantastic for us that something like this is happening in Scunthorpe."
The performers will be provided by Scunthorpe Cooperative Junior Choir and Proper Job Theatre Company, with organisers saying that the idea is to combine art and sport and highlight Scunthorpe’s creative talent.
Two performances of the work are planned, penciled in for July 14 and 15 at Glanford Park and coinciding with a festival featuring arts performances such as street theatre and stalls celebrating local cyclists.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.