Names announced for public vote for critical links along the Connswater Community Greenway

Last month the Connswater Community Greenway in partnership with Belfast City Council gave the public the opportunity to officially name major links along the Greenway including three bridges within Greenville Park and Orangefield Park, and a major new pathway that extends from Orangefield Park to Braniel.  

The judges met and  are now asking the public to vote for their favourite from the following names:

1. Existing bridge connecting Greenville Park to Orangefield Park

Voting Options:

1.    Collyard’s Bridge

‘Collyard’s’ was the name given locally of the orchard and house that once existed in grounds of Orangefield Park.

2.    Grace Bannister

Grace Bannister OBE lived off Grand Parade in east Belfast and was a former pupil of Bloomfield Collegiate School.
She is remembered in the area for having given dedicated service on several school boards of Governors.  Her place in history in Belfast is secured by the fact that she was the first female Lord Mayor of Belfast, elected in 1981 and was also the High Sheriff of Belfast from 1979 - 1980.  She died in 1986.

2. New bridge connecting Greenville Park to Orangefield Park

Voting Options:

1.    Avalon

Avalon is a mythical island paradise. This word also has links to east Belfast’s Van Morrison who has an album ‘Avalon Sunset’. This album also includes the track Orangefield.

2.    Moondance

The word links to east Belfast’s Van Morrison who has an album and song ‘Moondance’. Van Morrison has connection to this area of Orangefield.

3. New bridge at Orangefield Lane

Voting Options:

1.    Kingfisher

Kingfishers are one of the fantastic species of birds that live in the banks of the Knock River in Orangefield Park. Kingfishers are small unmistakable bright blue and orange birds of slow moving or still water. They fly low over water and hunt fish from riverside perches, occasionally hovering above the water's surface.

2.    Scholars’

This bridge is used locally by children in the surrounding schools of Grosvenor Grammar School, Orangefield Primary School, Clarawood Special School, Braniel Primary School and Elmgrove Primary School.

4.New pathway connecting Orangefield Park to Braniel

Voting Options:

1.    Laburnum Lane

This pathway goes through an area called Laburnum. Laburnum is also a golden chain tree but it is not known that there are any of these trees in this area.

2.    Marshwiggle Way

Marshwiggle are a race that inhabits the marshes of northern Narnia, south of the River Shribble from The Chronicles of Narnia books written by east Belfast man C.S. Lewis.  

Puddleglum is the well known Marshwiggle who is a lead character in The Silver Chair.  His great strength is that even though he doesn't always see how good can come of a situation he nevertheless will stay at his post, will do what needs to be done and in the Silver Chair his act of selfless heroism saves the whole enterprise. 

Anne McMurray,   Connswater Community Greenway Trust and Naming Panel Chair said:

"First off I want to thank everyone who took the time to submit names. We had a fantastic response to this campaign and we gave careful consideration to all the submissions.

As a panel we had to ensure that each short listed name represents the values of the Connswater Community Greenway Project, and reflects a sense of place and significance to this part of the Greenway at Orangefield Park.

The panel is unanimous about the final shortlist. We hope it provides a good choice for people to make their final selection. Each one of these names represents and offers something different, including the local links to the arts; the heritage and culture; the wildlife and academia in the area; and the sense of community.

We believe that whichever names that the public finally decide on will be the right ones. Any one of these names will certainly leave a legacy and stand the test of time.

It is now up to the public to make that very important decision. Please vote for your favourites!"

Another name that attracted much attention throughout the campaign was James Ellis. The panel has decided that it would be more appropriate to put forward James Ellis as a name for another major bridge that will be placed along the Connswater Community Greenway near Park Avenue where James grew up.  It is also even more poignant that this bridge will be a close link to the existing Sam Thompson Bridge at Victoria Park.

Welcoming the bridge naming call, Robina Ellis, wife of James said:

“Toto, I and the rest of the Ellis family are very touched and happy at the possibility of a bridge being named after Jimmy. It would be a very appropriate legacy because it was entirely due to Jimmy that Sam Thompson’s play ‘Over The Bridge’ saw the light of day.”

She added: “Jimmy had been due to open Sam’s bridge in April 2014 but sadly he died of a stroke 4 weeks before it opened. It would be particularly meaningful for Jimmy and Sam to have bridges side by side.”

The panel confirmed that there will be a number of further structures to be named along the Connswater Community Greenway during 2016. You can vote for your favourite bridge and pathway names from Friday 11th March – Wednesday 30th March, midnight.

Vote online at www.connswatergreenway.co.uk/Vote. You can also pick upvoting leaflets from the EastSide Partnership Office open Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm (closed lunch 1pm – 2pm) and at the Orangefield Park Bowling Pavilion during opening hours Monday – Friday, 11am – 4pm.

The Connswater Community Greenway is a £40 million funded project. It was conceived by the EastSide Partnership and is funded by Big Lottery Fund, Belfast City Council, Department for Social Development, DARD Rivers Agency, and management of the contract was taken on by Belfast City Council with agreement of all the partners.