Page last updated at 07:47 GMT, Wednesday, 10 February 2010
Cardiff and Vale face-off on the people's bridge
Laser portrait benches
Familiar faces will welcome visitors arriving in Cardiff and Penarth

Nessa and Dame Shirley Bassey? Roald Dahl and Derek Brockway? Ace swimmers David Davies and Billy the Seal?

Residents of Cardiff and the Vale are invited to nominate famous figures or local heroes to face each other on a new £5m bridge across the river Ely.

The laser cut portraits will be incorporated in benches on Pont y Werin - the People's Bridge - in Cardiff Bay.

The structure is due to open in the summer of 2010, completing a six-and-a-half mile (10.5km) circular walk.

The invitation has been issued by the Pont y Werin steering group, which includes councillors, council officers, residents of Cardiff and Penarth, plus cycling groups and representatives from Cardiff and Vale Coalition of the Disabled.

The bridge will include two benches, one placed on either side of the river at Cardiff and Penarth, each featuring a laser cut outline of three life size individuals.

The portraits will be cut from sheet steel and installed behind each bench.

Impression of the new bridge
The new bridge will complete the Bay Edge walkway and cycle route

People are invited to nominate anyone they like who represents Cardiff or the Vale of Glamorgan - celebrities, historical figures, sporting legends, or local heroes.

Residents of Cardiff can email their suggestions to votebench@cardiff.gov.uk or by visiting the tourist information centre in Cardiff Bay to fill out a Vote Bench form.

People in the Vale of Glamorgan can vote by visiting www.valeofglamorgan.gov.uk/votebench , emailing votebench@valeofglamorgan.gov.uk or by filling in a suggestion form at Penarth Library.

The 140 metre bridge will allow pedestrians and cyclists to cross between Penarth and the International Sports Village at Cardiff Bay, with a 20 metre opening section to allow river traffic to pass.

Funding has come from the Welsh Assembly Government, Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan councils, Cardiff Harbour Authority, and a Big Lottery Fund grant awarded to sustainable transport charity Sustrans for its Connect 2 project creating new bridges.

Lee Waters, national director for Sustrans Cymru, said, "It's great news that Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan residents are going to pick local icons to proudly mark Pont y Werin.

"This truly is the peoples' bridge and this is the final touch.

"Hopefully local people will not only find the bridge invaluable for their everyday journeys but will enjoy these great pieces of local art too."

The winning nominations for the portrait benches will be announced in March.


Who do you think should be featured on the bridge? Here is a selection of your comments:

Forget celebrity why not the portrait of normal working people? A parent and child, an engineer, office worker, street cleaner etc. It's these people that are the heroes that keep society running.
simon price, Newport

Aneurin Bevan surely?
Drew Jackson, Cardiff

My personal choice would be Jim Driscoll.
Gareth, Cardiff

For a small nation, Wales punches well above its weight in its ability to produce world famous people, stars, celebrities and sports personalities.

Not everyone will be satisfied by the final choices made for those images chosen to adorn the benches.

I would suggest that political persons be avoided because these are often divisive and open to future ridicule, political sensitivities being what they are.

My suggestion would be Gareth Edwards, still considered as the finest rugby player of any generation, world renowned and an important figure in Wales's love affair with Rugby.

Edna Bucket, Cardiff

Should be inspiring and include important figures in Welsh history, what about Twm Siôn Cati? or Owain Glyndwr,they were true peoples people. I just don't think Charlotte Church really counts as an important figure. Sorry kid.
Dai Atrybe, Cardiff

Jason Stone of the Cardiff Devils 21 Years of commitment to local sports and its his testimonial this year and he's been under rated for too long (its a sports village after all)
Rachel, Cardiff

Jason Stone. Local lad who's played for the Cardiff Devils Ice Hockey team (based near the bridge in the sports village) for 21 years which is an outstanding achievement in a tough sport. This season is his testimonial and this would seem fitting.
Anon

Someone with Dr Who for definate maybe the Tardis as well in background, charlotte church?

but to be honest why is it just being kept to cardiff originated famous people - why not celebrate all of Wales achievements from the Manics through 'phonics, Nye Bevan through Antony Hopkins and Christian Bale. There would be so many to chose from then? People need to know who they are looking at !
Phil J H, Newport Gwent

id like to see my face on the bridge , im no one famous i just live here
jeff de-costa, cardiff , wales

I think Nigel walk should feature on the bench. He has been an international in 2 different sports (athletics and rugby), is a patron of a number of Welsh charitites (George Thomas Hospice, Cancer Research Wales etc), works tirelessly as an ambassador for Wales and is a proud Welshman.
Mary Swiffen, CARDIFF




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