New bridge names unveiled

Earlier this year Connswater Community Greenway, in association with Belfast City Council, launched a campaign to name the three bridges installed on the Greenway section from Beersbridge Road to Grand Parade. The public put forward their suggestions which then went to a public vote.

On Monday 13th February, families and local stakeholders met to unveil the bridge names and celebrate the inspirational local people who will now be remembered for generations to come.

Grace Bannister Bridge (The first bridge at Dixon Park near Grand Parade) is named after the first Female Lord Mayor of Belfast, Grace Bannister. She was also the High Sheriff of Belfast from 1979 – 1980 and lived off Grand Parade in east Belfast. Grace was a former pupil of Park Parade School.

Shannon Bridge (The second bridge from Dixon Park at Dunraven Gardens) is named after a local community worker Billy Shannon who was a founding member of Bloomfield Community Association in 1975. He was passionate about football, children and young people.

Hutchinson Bridge (The new bridge linking Linen Gardens & Abetta Parade) is named after the former principal of Elmgrove Primary School from 2001-2011. He was an extremely popular figure with parents and within the wider community.

Wife of David Hutchinson, Alison said: David was involved in the early days of the Greenway project through Elmgrove Primary School and we were thrilled to hear that a bridge would be named after him. It's lovely to think he hasn't been forgotten in the area so thank-you to everyone who voted for the Hutchinson Bridge.”

Daughter of Grace Bannister, Gail Sloan commented I was delighted when the community voted to have a bridge named after my mother Grace Bannister. It is a great honour and means a lot to me and my family.”

Daughter of Community Worker Billy Shannon, Karen Purdy commented “My Dad was a well known and respected community activist who did a lot of work with young people, the elderly and families in the area. He campaigned for change and was instrumental in developing the street calming and alleygate schemes. My family are so appreciative of all the support we received in the bridge naming process and we are extremely proud that Dad is being honoured in this way.”