Two major events coming to Coventry and Warwickshire this summer have underlined the area’s growing reputation for staging national events – according the chair of an organisation established to help promote the area.
The Coventry & Warwickshire Champions was established six years ago to use businesses and organisations to help raise the profile of the area by using their networks.
One major area it felt could be developed was the number of major events held in Coventry and Warwickshire and its chair Les Ratcliffe believes the area has a well-earned national reputation to hosting big occasions.
When Champions was established we felt that we had all the assets needed to host major events. We have the location, we have some wonderful facilities and we certainly have the expertise but it was widely felt that we were not using those to our full advantage.
The picture has dramatically changed since then, and I think we have shown that not only can we host major events, we can also generate our own.
The announcement that the OVO Energy Women’s Tour has come back to Warwickshire for a third time is proof of that. The organisers have been impressed with the way Warwickshire County Council hosted an event which has a high international profile, the numbers of people who came out on the street and the general way in which it was embraced.
It is telling that Warwickshire is the only location the event has returned to for a third year and that is a tribute to those involved. Not only did the organisers work well with us, but the riders and spectators loved it.
Warwickshire will host the third stage of the event on Friday, June 15 with a start and a finish in the county.
Starting in Market Square, Atherstone, the race will weave its way through Warwickshire in a 151k route ending in Royal Leamington Spa - making the Warwickshire stage the longest of the 2018 event.
That will come just two weeks after Coventry hosts a star-studded array of music acts at the BBC Biggest Weekend, hosted in the Coventry Memorial Park.
Names such as Liam Gallagher, Snow Patrol, The Stereophonics, Paloma Faith and Billy Ocean will appear at the two-day event.
Coventry has transformed the Godiva Festival into the largest free music festival in the country and has shown it can host occasions which attract huge numbers of people and that will have played a major part in landing the Biggest Weekend.
Both events will bring huge profile for the area, and that can only be good.
Champions has directly spawned two other major events – the peace and reconciliation symposium Rising, and Motofest.
Both came directly from Champions hearing our wish to push our ability to host events, and both have proved very successful. This success is really encouraging and we now have the City of Culture 2021 to look forward to!
Caption: The riders finish last year’s stage in Leamington.