One of Yorkshire’s most famous daughters, and one of the greatest female cyclists ever, the late Beryl Burton, will be honoured this Wednesday as she is awarded the freedom of the city of Leeds – and a Go Cycling Festival is being staged the same day to coincide with it.
Taking place from 10am to 4pm, the Go Cycling Fest includes cycling simulators, bike try outs, including accessible bicycles, bike powered smoothie makers and multi-seat bikes.
There will also be cycle skills tuition, free safety checks and basic maintenance teaching courtesy of Dr Bike, and displays from British Cycling, CTC and displays the City Connect scheme, which will link Leeds and Bradford with a mostly segregated cycle route.
Mrs Burton, born in Morley, now a suburb of Leeds, Mrs Burton, won 122 national titles and 7 world championships during her career, and was awarded an MBE in 1964 and an OBE in 1968. She died in 1996 at the age of 58.
In 1972, she competed at the world championships alongside her daughter Denise, who told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “She was a true Yorkshire woman who came from the Leeds area and was very proud to be from here.
“She would have taken this with the highest honour, she’d also think ‘wow, why me?’ in a way, but what she’s done speaks for itself. We are humbled.”
Councillor Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council, commented: “After hosting a truly unforgettable Grand Depart earlier this year which will live long in the history of both our city and indeed the Tour de France, it is only right that we recognise Beryl Burton OBE for her amazing deeds in the sport that were pivotal in first putting Leeds on the international cycling map.”
On Wednesday, following a lunch hosted by the mayor of Leeds with guests including Burton’s family, a full council ceremony will be held to confer the freedom of the city on her, and will be beamed live from Leeds City Hall to the Big Screen on Millennium Square.
You can find out more about Go Cycling’s activities in West Yorkshire on its Facebook page.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.