Local heroes sought for cycle path bench

A similar bench in Wales (pic courtesy of Chandra Prasad/Sustrans)
A similar bench in Wales (pic courtesy of Chandra Prasad/Sustrans)

THE HUNT is on for local heroes whose sculptures will adorn a special bench being installed on a new cycle path linking Hastings and Bexhill.

The two-kilometre route, which will also have a lane for pedestrians, will run between the cycle path on the seafront and the one that starts at Galley Hill. It will provide walkers and cyclists with a picturesque alternative to the often busy Bexhill Road and is expected towards the end of the year.

As part of the launch, Sustrans - a charity which promotes healthy travel and secured lottery funding for the route - is installing an eye-catching portrait bench along the route, and wants residents to suggest three local figures to be immortalised on the new piece.

The lifesize figures will be made out of steel and can feature anyone the community wants to honour - be it a sports star, a famous resident or an unsung community champion.

Simon Pratt, Sustrans’ south east director said: “The portrait bench is a great way to make this new route really belong to Hastings. Perhaps weary commuters or schoolchildren could take a breather alongside a famous face a well-known local resident or a figure from the past, perhaps King Harold.

“We can’t wait to see who local people come up with.”

In other areas, figures chosen for the benches have included Olympic cyclist Nicole Cooke, and top comedian Rob Brydon - best known as Uncle Bryn in Gavin and Stacey.

The new route has also been funded by East Sussex County Council (ESCC) and the authority’s lead member for transport, Cllr Matthew Lock said: “This is a great example of several organisations working together in partnership for the benefit of the community. We have been working hard to design a scheme that everyone is happy with and we hope lots of people will get involved in nominating their local heroes to appear on the portrait bench.”

Residents of Bexhill will also be invited to nominate, and residents of both towns will then be able to vote for their favourites from a shortlist.

To nominate someone, email the Observer via rob.alderson@jpress.co.uk, or post them to East Sussex County Council, Transport & Environment Department, E1 Connect 2 (SL), FREEPOST LW43, Lewes, East Sussex, BN7 1BR. The deadline for nominations is Friday, February 4 - please include a brief description if the person is not very well-known.