THE LONG-AWAITED Hastings to Bexhill seafront cycle and pedestrian path was officially opened this week.
The new seafront path, which is 2.2km in length, creates a traffic-free route that is more than 5km long. It links two existing paths - Galley Hill in Bexhill and Hastings promenade.
To mark the occasion three life-size figures of local heroes, cut from sheet steel, were unveiled alonside a bench.
Chosen by residents of Hastings and Bexhill, the three local heroes immortalised as part of an art project with charity Sustrans and East Sussex County Council are Spike Milligan, Richard Ball, and Tyrone Wildman.
Best known for his work on the 1950s radio show The Goons, Spike Milligan was stationed in Bexhill during World War II and later lived in Rye.
Hastings BMXer Richard ‘Boyley’ Ball (1978-2010) was an emerging talent on the BMX scene and helped bring people together to work on the White Rock Skate Park, recently renamed the Boyley Forever Skate Park.
His memory has become a symbol of the local BMX and skate community, which organises an annual skate park jam to celebrate his life and raise thousands of pounds for the park in the process.
Well-known sportsman, Jamaican-born Tyrone Wildman, came to Hastings in 1952.
Respected in the local community for his talent and good nature, he was one of the country’s top natural bodybuilders and worked as a fitness instructor until his untimely death at the age of 59.
Cutting the ribbon to officially open the path, Councillor Carl Maynard, the county council’s lead cabinet member for economy, transport and environment, said it would provide a safe alternative to the busy A259 and improve access to the coast and beach.
“The project is a great example of several organisations working together in partnership for the benefit of the community,” he said.
“We hope it will encourage more people to travel on foot and by bike.”
Among those attending the event was Kathleen Wildman, Tyrone Wildman’s wife, and his children; Gill and Charlie Ball, Richard ‘Boyley’ Ball’s parents, and his sister, Donna Ball.
Kathleen Wildman and Donna Ball gave emotional tributes to their loved ones.
East Sussex County Council worked with Sustrans, Hastings Borough Council and Rother District Council to deliver the new cycle and pedestrian link.
Work began in September 2011 and was built by Jackson Civil Engineering at a cost of around £360,000.
Simon Pratt, Sustrans regional director for the south east said: “It’s great that the new route is open. It will make it much safer and easier for people to travel by bike or on foot
between Hastings and Bexhill.