Page last updated at 16:14 GMT, Thursday, 8 July 2010 17:14 UK
Bench honour for Merthyr Tydfil legends
Julien Macdonald, Richard Trevithick and Laura Ashley
Julien Macdonald, Richard Trevithick and Laura Ashley came top of the poll

Three of Merthyr Tydfil's most famous figures have been chosen by residents to be immortalised in a portrait bench.

Railway pioneer Richard Trevithick will appear alongside fashion designers Laura Ashley and Julien Macdonald.

Life size figures cut from steel will be placed by a bench near the planned Trevithick Bridge over the A4060.

Sustainable transport charity Sustrans plans to have 80 portrait benches installed on pedestrian and cycle routes across the UK by 2013.

The Trevithick Bridge will be part of a newly created traffic-free route which runs from the residential areas of Pentrebach to the centre of Merthyr Tydfil, also linking in to the Taff Trail.

There were 479 suggestions from the community as to who should be honoured on the bench but organisers say there were three clear winners.

Laser portrait benches
Portrait benches are appearing all over the UK

Rachel Lister, project officer for Sustrans Cymru, said: "It's great that these local heroes have been chosen by this community and really represent how people today feel about their town.

"Richard, Laura and Julien will give local walkers and cyclists somewhere to take a well earned rest on the route and will take in this lovely landscape."

Merthyr Tydfil councillor Derek Games also welcomed the public interest in the initiative.

"As heritage champion, I would like to thank all those who contributed and voted for the three chosen figures," he said.

"Merthyr Tydfil can feel rightly proud of Richard Trevithick and the world's first steam locomotive, and our world renowned designers - Laura Ashley for her fabrics and Julien Macdonald who is leading the trend today.

"I feel very proud of the achievements from these three wonderful people and their recognition made."

The bench and figures are due to be made in the next three months and will be unveiled at a date to be confirmed.

The £2m Trevithick Trail is being funded by Sustrans, Merthyr Tydfil council and the European Regional Development Fund.

The budget includes £400,000 from a £50m grant awarded to Sustrans in 2007 by the Big Lottery Fund for projects across the UK.

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Laura Ashley: a fashion for nostalgia
09 Oct 09 |  Arts & Culture
Facing off on the people's bridge
10 Feb 10 |  Arts & Culture
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