Belfast Telegraph

Sam Thompson Bridge spans east Belfast's history

A new £500,000 footbridge named by the public after local east Belfast shipyard worker and playwright Sam Thompson, has been installed in Victoria Park.

The 62 metre span bridge which will link the Harbour Estate and the Titanic Quarter as part of the £35 million Connswater Community Greenway project, was set in place by one of Europe's biggest cranes.

The 'Name the Bridge' campaign shortlisted five names after hundreds of public suggestions were put forward since June of this year.

Sam Thompson, a local who worked in the Shipyard, as a trade unionist and a playwright concerned with social issues and the effects these had on the people of Belfast, received a huge majority with 44% of the vote.

This steel bowstring bridge, constructed by M. Hasson & Sons Ltd, will open to the public by the end of the year and will be finished with colour changing LED lighting.

Councillor Claire Hanna who originally put the name forward said: "I'm genuinely delighted that the name Sam Thompson Bridge was so overwhelmingly supported by the public vote.

"It's a fitting tribute to a prophetic voice, artist and campaigner on major political issues that still dog our society today.

"Well done to the East Belfast Partnership for such an imaginative approach to naming the bridge and to all who voted.

"It's an important project for the whole city and I look forward to more 'green veins' which will improve access, health and well being for people around Belfast."

Lord Mayor Mairtin O Muilleoir said: "The Connswater Community Greenway will transform the lives of people in Belfast; it will connect communities and will provide a valuable and much needed resource to those living in the surrounding areas. Belfast City Council is delighted to be working with the East Belfast Partnership to deliver the project as part of the wider Belfast City Council Investment Programme. Investment in physical and capital projects is needed to create a modern infrastructure for the city and its people."

The Connswater Community Greenway project, developed by the East Belfast Partnership, is one of three 'Living Landmark' projects in the UK and is funded by the Big Lottery Fund, Belfast City Council and the Department for Social Development.

Joanne McDowell, the Big Lottery Fund's NI director said the organisation is "delighted" work has begun on the Connswater Community Greenway project which is the only project in Northern Ireland to receive Living Landmark funding.

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