Local sporting heroes celebrated with 'portrait bench' at new Warwickshire greenway

By James Smith

3rd Nov 2022 | Local Features

The new Lias Line bench is a tribute to Former Olympian and current Parkrun chair David Moorcroft OBE and cycling record breaker Eileen Sheridan (image supplied)
The new Lias Line bench is a tribute to Former Olympian and current Parkrun chair David Moorcroft OBE and cycling record breaker Eileen Sheridan (image supplied)

Two local sporting heroes have been immortalised in steel as figures on a new section of the National Cycle Network.

Former Olympian and current Parkrun chair David Moorcroft OBE and cycling record breaker Eileen Sheridan have both been recognised as part of the 'portrait benches' project which has been rolled out in recognition of Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee.

As part of a national campaign by walking and cycling charity, Sustrans, residents were asked who they believe has made a positive impact on their local community in the last seven decades, in celebration of the UK's longest-reigning monarch.

Former BBC pundit and middle and long-distance runner, David was born in Coventry and his figure has been placed on the 'Lias Line' which is now Warwickshire's longest greenway.

Next to his is the impression of one of the most famous cyclists of her time, Eileen Sheridan, who broke all 21 British women's road records. Perhaps most notably, Land's End to John O'Groats in 1954 - taking two days, 11 hours and seven minutes to complete.

The 4.2km off-road track was reopened following a £5.1 million project earlier this year.

The two were chosen by local members of the public (image supplied)

Sustrans has already installed over 250 life-sized steel figures across the length and breadth of the UK as part of the portrait bench campaign.

Each figure has been designed and built using corten steel by the renowned artists Katy and Nick Hallett.

Existing figures in the Midlands region include Martin Wood, Town Crier of Shrewsbury, Charles Rennie Mackintosh in Northampton, and Sir Joseph Norman Lockyer in Rugby. 

And the two figures in Warwickshire are the first of 30 new ones to be installed across England in 14 different locations.

Speaking at the unveiling on Monday (October 31) David Moorcroft said: "It's a great honour to be part of this project and to be stood next to Eileen who was such a legend from the world of cycling in Coventry and Warwickshire.

"Particularly as Sustrans is so committed to promoting healthier ways of living and healthier forms of transport."

Eileen Sheridan's daughter, Louise Sheridan, was also present at the unveiling and said: "Our family is very pleased and honoured that Mum has been chosen by the people of Warwickshire.

"She has many happy memories of cycling with the Coventry Cycling Club through the lanes of Warwickshire.

"She thinks Sustrans and the National Cycle Network make a fantastic contribution to the health and wellbeing of everyone."

An unveiling event was held on Monday at the Lias Line Greenway (image supplied)

     

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