AS YORKSHIRE captured the hearts of the nation as the Tour de France hit Yorkshire, one couple were at the centre of the action, cheering on cyclists and mingling with the crowds as history was made.

Tour Makers Julie and John Ryan of Welburn secured two of the 10,000 coveted places to be a volunteer during the Tour de France Grand Depart.

Julie, 47 and John, 45, were both route marshals throughout the day, ensuring the safety of spectators and informing them of those all important timings so that they could catch a glimpse of the cyclists taking part.

Julie was based on Holme Moss on the West Yorkshire-Derbyshire border, where about 60,000 spectators were expected, whilst John was stationed at the A1/A59 junction as the tour made its way from York to Knaresborough.

Before anyone saw the cyclists though, Julie said they heard them first, which only added to the electric atmosphere throughout the day.

She said: "It was just absolutely fantastic to be a part of it. There was excitement in the air and we're both from Yorkshire so we were so so proud that we were a part of it and that Yorkshire could show off.

"We were both just blown away by the sheer scale of it and neither of us would hesitate in volunteering to do it all again."

The couple, who are both huge cycling fans and watch the Tour every year, applied separately in December last year before undergoing the extensive application process.

After an online interview and some group training they were selected to be Tour Makers for the world's biggest annual sporting event.

Julie said: "We were both thrilled when we found out. I remember that it was a Friday night when we got the email and we were both jumping up and down with excitement.

"It was amazing, we were there all day from 9am-5pm and people just kept coming and coming. It was almost like the Olympics but it was even better."