Page last updated at 09:44 GMT, Sunday, 3 May 2009 10:44 UK

Wallaces open new Stirling bridge

Forthside Bridge
The bridge links the city centre to the new waterfront development

Six William Wallaces from across Scotland attended the opening of a new bridge in Stirling.

The £6m pedestrian-crossing spans the railway to link the city centre with the Forthside waterfront development.

It was due to open 12 months ago but its complicated design meant that testing of the structure took longer than expected.

The Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297 is regarded as Scottish patriot William Wallace's most famous victory.

Stirling Council recruited six people called William Wallace to help open the new bridge at Forthside.

They ranged in age from two to 65 and even feature a father and son from Elderslie, where it is thought the legendary William Wallace may have been born.

Others are from Glasgow, Dunfermline and Cumbernauld.

William Wallace, 65, from Muirkirk in Ayrshire, will be one of those opening the bridge.

William Wallace
William Wallace from Muirkirk knew his name would come in handy one day

Before the ceremony, he told the BBC Scotland news website it was going to be a family affair as his two daughters, his son, his two grandsons, aged five months and 15, and his nine-year-old granddaughter would all be going along to watch.

"I always thought that the William Wallace would come in handy one day and I feel quite honoured actually that I'll be involved in something that'll be a wee part of history," he said.

"I was never 7ft obviously and there have been comments like, 'Oh you're William Wallace', but it never got me anywhere or gave me any advantages.

"But I was always proud that the name was there and especially when Braveheart came out, although I think I had a better accent than Mel Gibson."

The new bridge will give pedestrians access to the cinema, restaurants and planned hotel and conference centre, offices and homes at the Forthside development.

Stirling Provost Fergus Wood said: "This iconic and unique structure will grace the skyline of Stirling for many years to come, and open up the Forthside for business and pleasure."

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