SUPPORTING the Tour de France as a volunteer will be very much a family occasion for Ledbury sports fan, Catherine Salthouse, aged 50.

She will be helping an English stage to go smoothly, alongside her brother David, who will travel down from Scotland for the occasion, and her sister Diana, who lives in Hertfordshire.

Miss Salthouse, of Martins Way, an equine nurse, is happier on horseback than on a bike saddle.

But she is no stranger to helping out at top sporting occasions as a volunteer, and she believes the rewards outweigh the expenses, time and effort involved.

She said: "I am not a keen cyclist, but a keen volunteer. I just love the whole experience of it, because you get to meet a different bunch of people than the folks you normally meet.

" I will be working on route as either a crossing, route or flag marshall helping the cyclists get a clear route through the crowds and helping the crowds get the most out of the experience. It will be a family affair as my brother and sister are also taking part as volunteers."

Miss Salthouse will be a volunteer for the third stage of the Tour de France, which will travel from Cambridge to the Mall , London on July 7, before it heads back to France.

The first two stages will be in Yorkshire on July 5 and July 6.

She must meet her own expenses, but has received a uniform from tour sponsor, Asda, and will get a voucher for food on the day.

Miss Salthouse, who works at the Three Counties Equine Hospital, near Ripple, put her expertise to good use as volunteer during the 2012 Olympics.

She worked with surgeons at a clinic in Greenwich Park, London, where the eventing, show jumping, dressage and modern pentathlon took place.

Later this summer she will be a volunteer at the World Equestrian Games in France.

Miss Salthouse said: "This is an event held every four years, showcasing all the equestrian sports in one place and is the World Championships for these sports.

"Since the Olympics I have also helped at many local equestrian competitions, in various roles."