Belfast Telegraph

Playwright Sam Thompson's name is chosen to go over east Belfast bridge

BY CLAIRE WILLIAMSON

It started with hundreds of name suggestions being whittled down to a shortlist of five.

Now a vote has decided the new east Belfast landmark bridge in Victoria Park will be named Sam Thompson Bridge, after the local playwright.

In July, a Name the Bridge campaign saw the public put forward name suggestions for the new 62m crossing, part of the £35m Connswater Community Greenway project. The pedestrian and cycle footbridge will be installed this weekend.

The final five suggestions included, The Island Bridge, Victoria (Vicky) Bridge, Avalon Bridge, to celebrate east Belfast's Van Morrison and finally Cranes Bridge.

With 44% of the vote, Sam Thompson was easily the winner, and the name is apt as the trade unionist's most famous work is the play Over the Bridge.

The Sam Thompson bridge will provide a much needed connection from Victoria Park to Airport Road, linking to the Harbour Estate and Titanic Quarter.

Anne McMurray said the "shortlisting was a really tough".

"The panel has been overwhelmed by the volume of interest in this campaign from the public."

Yesterday, the name was approved by the Parks and Leisure Committee and will go before the full council meeting next month.

The steel bowstring bridge cost about £500,000 to construct.

Belfast Lord Mayor Mairtin O Muilleoir said the project will "transform" the lives of people.

PROFILE

Sam Thompson (right) was a Northern Irish playwright born in Ballymacarrett, Belfast. He is best known for his controversial plays Over the Bridge which exposes sectarianism, and Cemented With Love, which focuses on political corruption. He was a committed trade unionist. His play Over The Bridge attracted an estimated 42,000 during a six-week run in 1960. He died suddenly from a heart attack in 1965.

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