It's a friendly term of endearment but organisers of the Tour de France don’t want any amour of it.
The world’s biggest free sporting event is coming to Yorkshire but woe betide any of the volunteers tour makers who refer to visitors as “love.”
Some 12,000 people have signed up as tour makers to help ensure the event passes off smoothly and strangers know where they are going.
It’s not swearing they are bothered about, it’s referring to people as “love”, “mate” or “darling.”
Familiarity breeds friendliness in Yorkshire and some tour makers have expressed surprise that such terms are banned.
“It’s a bit daft,” said one Kirklees-based volunteer. “Using the word ‘love’ isn’t offensive or disrespectful, it’s what makes Yorkshire people friendly and approachable.”
An online training module for the volunteers says: “Be confident and naturally friendly.
“Avoid using words such as ‘mate’, ‘love’ or ‘darling’ – they may sound friendly to you but they could offend some people.”
The volunteer, who asked not to be named, dismissed the online training as “political correctness gone mad.”
He said some of the multiple choice questions were almost insulting.
“There is one that asks you how you would respond if a lady in a wheelchair asks you a question. You are asked if you would ignore the woman and talk to the man pushing her instead.
“It’s just ridiculous. What do they think we are?”
The man said that there wouldn’t be just Yorkshire people volunteering in Yorkshire.
“What about Geordies who call people ‘pet’? Or Lancastrians who call people ‘duck’? Then you could get a Scotsman – or woman, let’s not be sexist about it – being asked where the toilets are. Do they get in trouble for saying: ‘It’s a wee bit further down there’? That’s as daft as it gets.”
The volunteers will have a three-hour training session at Leeds Arena on May 24 and the man said: “It could be worse. They could have asked us to speak French!”
A spokesman for Yorkshire Tour organisers Welcome to Yorkshire said the county was well known for its warm welcome and added: “We don’t want volunteers to use language that may cause confusion for our overseas visitors.”
The Tour’s Grand Depart comes to Calderdale and Kirklees on Sunday July 6 and includes the iconic Holme Moss climb.
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