Well-known East Belfast Actor, the late, James ‘Jimmy’ Ellis, famed for his roles in productions such as the BBC series Z-Cars and The Billy Plays, will add his name to a new bridge, just metres from his family home. Unveiled to the public today, 8th March 2017, this marks the opening of a further section of the Connswater Community Greenway linking C.S. Lewis Square, Mersey Street and Victoria Park.
The new greenway section from C.S Lewis Square to Victoria Park, including the James Ellis Bridge, will feature: 1.4km new cycle and walkway; flood protection for local properties; landscaping works including new trees, shrubs and grassed areas; restoration of the Connswater River to encourage plant and wildlife species to thrive and a new toucan crossing at Mersey Street Bridge. In addition Mersey Street Bridge has been repainted and benches, lighting, bins and interpretative signage added along the route.
When completed later this year, the Connswater Community Greenway will be a living landmark and a fantastic legacy for everyone from across the city and beyond to enjoy. As well as offering greener, cleaner spaces, including a wildlife corridor from Belfast Lough to the Castlereagh Hills, the new linear park includes 16km of foot and cycle paths, improved green spaces, 23 new or improved bridges and crossings, 5km of flood walls and embankments, 6 new tourism and heritage trails and the C.S. Lewis Square at Holywood Arches for celebrations and events.
The Connswater Community Greenway is a £40 million funded project developed by EastSide Partnership and delivered by Belfast City Council which is managing the project construction. Funded by the Big Lottery Fund, Belfast City Council, the Department for Communities, Department for Infrastructure and DfI Rivers, the Greenway will improve the quality of life for local people and create a legacy for future generations. The Connswater Community Greenway project was developed thanks to more than £23.5 million raised by National Lottery players.
DfI Rivers is also working in partnership to deliver elements of the combined East Belfast Flood Alleviation Scheme. This is part of a significant investment of £12 million in East Belfast that will alleviate the impact of flooding to nearly 1700 homes.
Attending the event today, Lord Mayor of Belfast, Alderman Brian Kingston said;
“I am delighted to be here today recognising one of Belfast’s finest actors, a man who challenged perceptions and brought people together through drama. It is fitting that a bridge which provides a pathway to unite two sides of a river is named in his honour and that it will allow people to enjoy more of the east Belfast area of which he was so proud.”
A pleasure to speak at official opening of the James Ellis Bridge & latest section of the Connswater Greenway along with Robina & Toto Ellis pic.twitter.com/LciH1f9d9P
— Brian Kingston (@BrianKingston) March 8, 2017
Speaking at the opening of the new section, Wendy Langham Programme Manager Connswater Community Greenway, said;
“The opening of this latest section of the Connswater Community Greenway is yet another significant milestone in the development of the Connswater Community Greenway. We are delighted to unveil the James Ellis Bridge, a fitting tribute to a great East Belfast son, and we are grateful to his family for being with us today. Having secured the biggest ever National Lottery grant, it is fantastic to see the plans for the Greenway become a reality as we, section by section, open it up for the public to enjoy.”
Helping to unveil the new James Ellis Bridge, Robina Ellis James Ellis wife, commented;
“Myself and our son Toto are delighted to support Connswater Community Greenway with the public opening of the new section today. We are especially delighted to be here to unveil the naming of a bridge after our beloved Jimmy. Jimmy wore his fame lightly and humbly and would not have imagined this particular tribute possible, and so near to the end of the road where his family lived for 60 years. Jimmy’s father was also known as James Ellis. We would like to consider the bridge naming as a double tribute, which would have made Jimmy very happy. Jimmy remained fiercely proud of his roots for his whole life and, had he lived to see this, he would want to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to enjoy this wonderful place.”
For further information on Connswater Community Greenway visit www.connswatergreenway.co.uk, Facehook:/connswatercommunitygreenway, twitter @connswgreenway #CCG.