East Belfast's new bridges with a human connection

East Belfast's new bridges with a human connection

Shannon Bridge

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The Shannon Bridge is named after local community worker Billy Shannon

Three new bridges have been opened in east Belfast – named after people who have left their mark on the community.

The footbridges at Connswater Greenway were named after Grace Bannister, David Hutchinson and Billy Shannon following a public vote.

Grace Bannister was the first female Lord Mayor of Belfast, while David Hutchinson was a former principal of Elmgrove Primary School.

Billy Shannon was a founding member of Bloomfield Community Association.

The names of the footbridges were unveiled by relatives of those honoured in a ceremony on Monday.

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Grace Bannister lived a short distance from the Greenway. Her bridge is the first at Dixon Park near Grand Parade.

Mrs Bannister’s daughter Gail Sloan said: ” It makes me feel proud and humble to think the people of the community here thought so much of my mum to do this for her.

“It would please her so much to know it was well used and people would walk across it”.

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David Hutchinson’s son Ryan said his family were so pleased it was a useable memory of his dad

The second bridge has a famous connection.

In between the busy Beersbridge Road and Grand Parade is a place known as “The Hollow”, as written about by one of east Belfast’s most famous sons – Van Morrison.

Overlooking The Hollow, stands Elm Grove Primary School.

David Hutchinson’s widow Alison said the bridge was a fitting tribute: “You can see the bridge from the school and the children walk over it every day to go to school so that makes it even more special.”

His son Ryan said: “It’s a lovely gesture and testament to him that it’s a useable memory.”

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Billy Shannon’s daughter Karen Purdy said her father would be “so proud”

Mr Shannon’s daughter Karen Purdy said he had been a big campaigner for local issues.

“He would love this but would definitely make some joke along the lines of ‘you’re having all those people walking all over me,'” she said.

“But, he would be so proud.”

Source: BBC News – Northern Ireland

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