New Belfast greenways are homage to CS Lewis and Van Morrison
A new path being built as part of an east Belfast greenway is to be named Marshwiggle Way after a character in CS Lewis's Narnia books.
Following a public vote, three bridges in Orangefield Park that will form part of the £40m Connswater Community Greenway have also been named Kingfisher Bridge, Avalon Bridge and Collyard's Bridge - all evoking people or features of the area.
Earlier this year, the public were asked to put forward names for the bridges and walkway and a panel of judges selected the top two for each category before putting them to the public vote.
Now the greenway team have announced the winners. Collyard's Bridge, named after the orchard and house that once stood in Orangefield Park, won 62% of the vote; while Kingfisher Bridge won 50.5% of the vote.
Avalon Bridge, with links to local man Van Morrison's Avalon Sunset album, won with 70% of the vote.
Meanwhile, 68% of the vote went to Marshwiggle Way, which is named after Puddleglum the Marshwiggle, an unlikely hero in CS Lewis's The Silver Chair, the next of the Narnia books to receive the big screen treatment. East Belfast writer CS Lewis's stepson Douglas Gresham says the dour Marshwiggle is the character he is most excited about seeing in the film as they are the only species that Lewis invented and the character was based on his old gardener. The final selections were approved by Belfast City Council's Parks and Leisure Committee this week, subject to ratification at the next full council meeting in early May.
Anne McMurray of Connswater Community Greenway Trust said: "The naming panel had a really tough decision in shortlisting the suggested names and deciding which were appropriate and relevant to the various sites. We were overwhelmed by the volume of interest in this campaign from the public. This campaign has been a wonderful opportunity for east Belfast and the broader Belfast community to put their stamp on, take ownership of and name these bridges and pathway. We hope these will become an important asset to the character and infrastructure of east Belfast."
Nigel Grimshaw, director of city and neighbourhood services with Belfast City Council, said: "The Connswater Community Greenway will transform lives by improving accessibility and providing a valuable and much-needed resource to those living in the surrounding areas, as well as inviting visitors to explore what this part of our city has to offer.
"Bridges and pathways are critical in connecting people and places, so we are pleased that the local community has been involved in choosing these vital connections."
Marshwiggle Way will be the next section of Greenway to open later this year after works were completed in Victoria and Orangefield Parks last year.
The panel confirmed that a number of structures will be named along the Greenway during 2016. One of the larger bridges may be named after east Belfast born actor Jimmy Ellis.