Blessed be this maze

Darlington and Stockton Times: (8131193) (8131193)

YORKSHIRE'S alive!

That was the booming message from larger than life performer Brian Blessed as he was given the honour of being the face of York Maze this summer.

The popular actor is one of three county icons to have their face cut of the Elvington corn field, as he joins former England cricket captain Geoffrey Boycott and Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson as the star attractions.

And the performer, 77, of Mexborough, said the pleasure was all his upon his return to his home county.

He said: "It feels surreal. I'm surprised to see myself.

"I love Yorkshire, I was Yorkshire born and bred, my uncles were coalminers, and it's great to be back.

"Quite simply, I welcome any opportunity to be in Yorkshire.

"This completes the treble for me because I am already the voice of the Vikings (at Jorvik Viking Centre), and there is a Brian Blessed silent room at York University.

"The maze symbolises the Yorkshire spirit through me. I embrace the Yorkshire spirit and it embraces me!"

Mr Boycott, a county cricketer for more than two decades, has made a name for himself in recent years for his outspoken views on television and radio commentary.

He added: "It´s very good, it´s definitely me, they´ve caught the chin well, my eyes and the hat.

"It looks enormous. I´ve never had a head as big as here.

"I tell everybody, when I batted I liked a bit of confidence. If I´d have seen this earlier it would have given me confidence.

"I think that kids and families visiting this summer will love it.

"Kids like getting lost, shouting out for their friends, the mums and dads will enjoy it."

Visitors will attempt to successfully navigate their way through the three's faces, which are separated by the famous Yorkshire rose, when the maze opens to the public this weekend.

Organisers are looking to top last year's Doctor Who extravaganza with this year's tribute to Yorkshire, which has been in the pipeline since the end of last year.

Once the plans were finalised, the corn was grown in the field throughout April and May, and the faces were marked by a Global Positioning System (GPS), and cut out.

Tom Pearcey, maze master, added: "We thought with all the stuff about the Tour de France and the buzz about the place, we should do something like this.

"One of the things the county is known for is straight-talking and those who epitomise that straight-talking attitude are Geoffrey Boycott, and Jeremy Clarkson doesn't pull any punches, and controversy follows him around.

"Brian is well-known for a loud and outspoken voice."

For more information visit www.yorkmaze.com

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