Cyclist Marc de Maar, the winner of today's Stoke-on-Trent stage of the Tour of Britain, was presented with a trophy designed and crafted in the city.
Ceramic artist Anita Harris handed over the earthenware pottery charger to the victor this afternoon, watched by thousands of cycling fans in the city centre.
The distinctive shallow dish features a cyclist in a yellow jersey, racing along a red, white and blue road. The background features bottle kilns, which figure prominently in Stoke-on-Trent’s landscape and industrial heritage.
Anita, who runs Longton-based Anita Harris Art Pottery Ltd with her business partner, Sam Johnson, donated the trophy after being approached by the city council via the art shop and gallery, Barewall Ltd,
“It’s such a great thing that the city has got to host the Tour of Britain again. There’s a buzz about the event and cycling in general, so I was really pleased to be involved in this way.
“A lot of my work is finished with the deep, rich red glaze that I’ve used on the charger. I wanted the design to be instantly recognisable, and hopefully people will see very quickly that it’s about the Tour of Britain and Stoke-on-Trent.”
Paula Millward, co-owner of Barewall, added: “We were delighted to make the approach to Anita. She’s one of our most popular and innovative artists, and it’s great that the city gets a chance like this to showcase the wealth of talent that we have locally.”
Councillor Mark Meredith, whose city council cabinet responsibilities include culture and sport, said: “We’re very grateful to Anita for the work and skill she has put into the trophy, and for generously donating it.
“Cycling is riding high at the moment. We’re enormously proud to host the Tour of Britain, and equally proud that Anita’s work will be seen by millions. It’s a real accolade - for Anita and the city as a whole.”
Earlier this year, Anita and Sam had a vase accepted by Buckingham Palace as a diamond jubilee gift to the Queen. The vase, just one of two produced, depicted the arches of Westminster Abbey.