December 12 2013 Latest news:
Friday, September 27, 2013
It has been an emotional day for those involved in a long campaign to bring Norfolk’s historic Vauxhall Bridge back to life.
But the official reopening of a footpath over the partly-refurbished bridge was by no means the end of the story.
In fact Yarmouth restauranteur Miriam Kikis, who has lead the campaign to restore the Grade-II listed railway bridge for more than 10 years, has already vowed to keep on fundraising and ensure phase two of the project goes ahead.
Phase one has seen the eastern span of the wrought iron bridge, opened in 1852 as an important gateway to the seaside town, brought back into use, connecting the station and Asda to North Quay for pedestrians and cyclists.
At 11am today, about 40 people gathered to see Mrs Kikis cut the ribbon on the refurbished foot and bike path. The first member of public to use the path was a cyclist who received a rapturous applause as she crossed.
“To be asked to cut the ribbon was quite moving for me,” said Mrs Kikis, who runs The Seafood restaurant overlooking the bridge.
“There have been more than 300 people involved in this from the start.
“It’s been a long time coming.
“And it’s not over yet. I vow to continue fundraising and we are hoping the council will apply for lottery funding money.”
This part of the refurbishment has cost £630,000 with funding coming from the Fair Shares National Lottery, Asda, Norfolk county and Yarmouth borough councils and the Railway Heritage Trust along with dozens of individuals and local companies.
The structure, first opened in 1852 and described as a “rare survival of a wrought-iron railway bridge”, forms an important gateway to the town and provides a vital pedestrian and cycle link. However, it has been left to decay in recent years and a shadow hung over its future until Mrs Kikis launched her determined efforts to save it.
As previously reported, a special exhibition at Yarmouth Library is currently celebrating the town’s transport heritage including Vauxhall Bridge.
The exhibition, Yarmouth Bridges, was brought together by members of Vauxhall Links, and runs until October 12. It features short films, model bridges, photographs taken by residents as well as professional, a heritage trail and the Vauxhall mural which was unveiled earlier this year.
The 60ft long mural next to Vauxhall Bridge tells the story of 170 years transportation heritage of the area.
For more information about the heritage trail, Tramtrailmap, visit www.greatyarmouthtramtrail.weebley.com.