THE Tour de France knitted jerseys that decorated parts of North Yorkshire are to be stitched into blankets for charity.

About 23,500 miniature jerseys were hung out in Harrogate district alone to celebrate the Grand Depart.

According to Harrogate Borough Council, many were taken as souvenirs by the public, but those remaining are to be gathered up.

They were created by knitters from as far afield as Australia and the Arctic Circle after an appeal by the council to help decorate the district.

There was outrage shortly before the race when North Yorkshire County Council asked the borough council to remove the knitted bunting from lampposts in Masham Market Place, claiming it was causing lampposts to lean. Tree surgeons were called in to remove the decorations.

A spokeswoman for the borough council said it was still receiving calls from as far afield as the Isle of Man and Indiana saying how much people had enjoyed seeing the knitted bunting.

The parks team will leave the majority of jumpers up until September before collecting them in.

Councillor Phil Ireland said: “We won’t get as many back as we had anticipated because lots were taken by the public. No doubt as souvenirs of a fabulous weekend in the district.

“Those that are retrieved will be stitched into blankets for charities such as Oxfam.”

He added: “None of us anticipated just how special this project would turn out to be or how much interest it would generate world-wide.

“On behalf of the council, I would like to thank every one of those people who knitted the jersey bunting or helped string it, and those who entered into the festival spirit and decorated their premises with bunting, with yellow and decorated bikes or with graphics. What a show we put on.”