Cycling fan to show his Tour de France miniature at Norfolk church

Norfolk miniature Tour de France

Norfolk man Peter Martin (inset) will display his miniature of the Tour de France at an exhibition in Marsham Church from June 24 to 26. - Credit: Courtesy of Peter Martin

He has had a passion for the Tour de France since he was little.

And now Peter Martin's miniature of the famous cycling race is to go on show ahead of this year's event, which starts in Copenhagen on July 1.

The miniature - which includes around 200 individual cyclists and motor vehicles - is the centrepiece of Mr Martin's extensive souvenir collection dedicated to the race.

The collection will fill his local church at Marsham, south of Aylsham, from Friday, June 24 to June 26.

Peter Martin Tour de France exhibit

Cycling fan Peter Martin with some of the Tour de France souvenirs he has collected over the years. - Credit: Courtesy of Peter Martin

There will be jerseys, photos, newspapers, magazines, programmes, cycling bottles called 'bidons', posters, publicity gifts, signs, books and adverts.

Tour de France miniature

Models of a cyclist and entourage vehicles at the Tour de France miniature built by Norfolk man Peter Martin. - Credit: Courtesy of Peter Martin

Mr Martin first attended the Tour de France 24 years ago and has returned every year since except for 2020 and 2021, when travel was restricted due to the pandemic.

In 2020, when the actual race was postponed, Mr Martin put the miniature cyclists through their paces in his alternative #TourdeMyGarden on Twitter.

Most Read

Each day’s stage was recreated and soon attracted attention from Talksport Radio and BBC Look East.

The following year, French TV channel France2 got in touch with Mr Martin during a second #TourdeMyGarden, when the mock tour went head to head with the real Tour de France and was spotted by an editor of France TV. 

Mr Martin's love of the Tour de France began during a holiday in France with his parents when he was about 10 and he bought some race-related miniatures in a toyshop.

Miniature Tour de France

The miniature Tour de France built by Peter Martin, from Marsham, during the summer of 2020. - Credit: Courtesy of Peter Martin

When he was older he started watching the event on TV.

"It caught my eye and I thought, I want to go and watch this," he said.

In 1998 Mr Martin travelled to France to watch the race itself.

"I went to the last stage," he said. "My favourite rider at the time was Marco Pantani, he won it.

"I couldn't get over how big it was."

Miniature Tour de France

A scene from Norfolk man Peter Martin's miniature Tour de France, which he built during lockdown in 2020. - Credit: Courtesy of Peter Martin

Mr Martin loves that it is not a particularly tribal event.

"You cheer everybody," he said. "It's played out over a beautiful backdrop. It's holiday time. It's a great spectacle."

Donations made at the exhibition will go to the church itself and the Little Princess Trust. 

The Tour de France annually covers about 3,500km, features some 198 competitors, is held over three weeks and is split into 21 stages.

Miniature Tour de France

A pack of cyclists at Norfolk man Peter Martin's minature Tour de France, which will go on display in Marsham Church from June 24 to 26. - Credit: Courtesy of Peter Martin

Miniature Tour de France

Entourage vehicles at Peter Martin's miniature Tour de France which will go on display in Marsham Church from June 24 to 26. - Credit: Courtesy of Peter Martin

Peter Martin Tour de France exhibit

Peter Martin, 54, will be sharing his enthusiasm for the Tour de France with an exhibition of memorabilia at Marsham Church. - Credit: Courtesy of Peter Martin

Miniature Tour de France

Cyclists racing in the miniature Tour de France built by Norfolk man Peter Martin. - Credit: Courtesy of Peter Martin

Miniature Tour de France

Cyclists racing in Norfolk man Peter Martin's miniature of the Tour de France. It will go on display at Marsham Church from June 24 to 26. - Credit: Courtesy of Peter Martin