Published: 1st SEPTEMBER 2022

Portrait Benches in Birmingham

The Portrait Benches project commemorates local heroes nominated by their communities by immortalising them as life-sized steel figures. You'll find them on National Cycle Network routes across the UK. This latest iteration of the project is in celebration of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee.

Portrait benches showing Richard Burton, Rob Brydon and Dick Wagstaff at Quoits Wood Crossing in the Afan Valley

Portrait Bench figures can be found on National Cycle Network routes all across the UK.

As part of the Portrait Benches project, we're celebrating Sir Lenny Henry CBE, Ellie Simmonds OBE, and Jane Sixsmith MBE.

Route 5 of the National Cycle Network travels through Birmingham and alongside the mainline canal all the way to Wolverhampton.

This 13-mile green corridor is a scenic walking and cycling route away from busy roads.

National Route 5 also runs south-east and through the city centre.

Take this direction to reach the Rea Valley Route, a mostly traffic-free path passing some of Birmingham’s finest parks and along the towpath of the Worcester & Birmingham canal.

Explore the National Cycle Network

Find walking, wheeling and cycling routes near you

Celebrating Birmingham's local heroes

Lenny Henry Portrait Bench illustration

Sir Lenny Henry CBE

Sir Lenny Henry CBE is an actor, comedian, singer, presenter and writer from Dudley.

He has received popular and critical admiration for comedic and dramatic roles on both stage and screen.

In 1985 he co-founded the charity Comic Relief and in 2015 was knighted for services to drama and charity.

Ellie Simmonds

Ellie Simmonds OBE is a British former Paralympian swimmer.

She competed in the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing at the age of 13, winning two gold medals.

Ellie won further gold medals in the 2012 and 2016 games, setting a world record in the 400m freestyle in London and a 200m medley world record in Rio.

Portrait Bench sculpture outline design of Jane Sixsmith

Jane Sixsmith

Jane Sixsmith MBE is the first British female hockey player to compete in four Olympics.

She retired from international hockey after scoring over 100 goals and winning 165 caps for England and 158 for Great Britain.

Her honours include an MBE, an Olympic bronze (1992), a European Cup gold (1991) and a Commonwealth silver medal (1998).

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Find more Portrait Benches across the UK