Richhill preparing for day to remember

John Taylor and his grandaughter (though sorry that was a presumption!) Miya
John Taylor and his grandaughter (though sorry that was a presumption!) Miya

Richhill is gearing up for the Giro d’Italia cycle race, with the Giro Caravan due to stop off in the village on Sunday.

The village is one of just two places where the caravan will stop before it crosses the border en route to Dublin.

Dr Alan Turtle, chairman of Richhill Improvements Association, said preparations are well under way to make May 11 a day to remember.

A welcome banner is being erected at the entrance to the village and a farewell one on the Hamiltonsbawn Road.

Meanwhile, the main street will be decorated with pink bunting and a dozen big flags with the Giro d’Italia motif will adorn the main street.

The caravan will travel ahead of the cyclists and is expected to arrive in the village just before 10.30am, where it will be handing out freebies.

Said Dr Turtle, “It’s actually not just one caravan. It’s a fleet of about 60 vehicles and we have been told it will stop for about five minutes.

“After the caravan goes through, we will be providing musical entertainment with the South Ulster Community Band at one end of the village and Hamiltonsbawn Folk Group at the other.

“There will be entertainment for the children such as balloon modelling and we will have characters like Peppa Pig and Mickey Mouse mingling with the crowds.”

Richhill Improvements Association is hoping to have a piper, piping in the cyclists as they begin to arrive around 12.10pm, while two Lambeg drummers will provide a thunderous welcome as they cycle through the village.

Said Dr Turtle, “We are expecting it to be a fun morning for everyone, and there has been great village participation. Richhill Scouts are going to dress the bank of the Corcreevy Road in pink banners and children from Hardy Memorial PS will be making pink flags.”

The cyclists will be coming in along the Corcreevy Road, up Main Street to the Square, down Irish Street and across the roundabout onto the Hamiltonsbawn Road.

Richhill, along with Markethill, Loughgall and Hamiltonsbawn, was awarded £2,000 by Armagh City and District Council to prepare for the Giro d’Italia.

Meanwhile, in Markethill, Gosford Castle is aiming to attract the attention of the TV cameras by decking the distinctive building out in pink.

Gosford owner Neil O’Brien said, “We are having huge pink banners made at the minute and they will be used to decorated the outside of the round tower.

“They will be huge pieces of pink fabric, similar to the ones used to decorate castles in medieval times.

“On the castle lawn we will have the symbol of the Giro sprayed onto the grass.”