A voluntary radio communications team which played a key role in ensuring the Tour de France ran safely and smoothly through the Yorkshire Dales has been ‘rewarded’ with thousands of pounds worth of equipment.
Members of RAYNET (The Radio Amateurs’ Emergency Network) provided a back-up communications system across the Stage One and Two routes in North Yorkshire where the use of alternative technologies such as mobile phone networks were difficult, impossible or likely to overload with the arrival of more than one million spectators.
During the Grand Depart of the Tour de France last July, RAYNET volunteers operated radios in many key locations, including Kidstones Pass, Grinton Moor and Blubberhouses Moor and engineered four hilltop repeater sites to link control rooms in Skipton, Richmond, Harrogate and York with a main control in Wakefield.
Earlier they had trained North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) staff, who had roles in control rooms but no previous experience of radio use, in the basics of operating procedure, message handling and logging.
At short notice on the afternoon before race start RAYNET loaned handheld radios to fill a shortage in two areas.
“Their voluntary assistance was of enormous help to us in the massive logistical challenge of ensuring that the Grand Depart went off safely and smoothly,” said County Coun Carl Les, North Yorkshire County Council’s Executive Member for Finance.
“Their support for the county council, the emergency services, and the other agencies which together brought the Tour to Yorkshire, was invaluable.”
As well as paying the travelling expenses of the volunteers who manned the service, NYCC has now donated some £5,500 towards the cost of technical equipment, which will help ensure RAYNET remains a viable support organisation for similar events in future, such as the Tour de Yorkshire, whose route was announced this week.
“Their experience and technical expertise meant they were the perfect organisation to supportNYCC, for example in crowd management, and were poised where necessary to deliver a resilient and reliable backup in the event of communications difficulties,” added Coun Les.