Published: 1st SEPTEMBER 2022

Portrait Benches in Hastings

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 local hero Ann Novotny for her extensive contributions to the Hastings community, as well as Jimi Riddle, lead singer and frontman of the proto-metal band The Riddles.

Route 2 of the National Cycle Network travels 378 miles from Dover to St. Austell.

From here in St Leonards, travel east to visit Hastings Pier.

Originally built in 1872, it reopened in 2016 following a catastrophic fire.

In 2017 it won the RIBA Stirling Prize for the UK’s best new building.

Travel west to Bulverhythe Beach and at low tide, you may catch a glimpse of The Amsterdam, a 1749 shipwreck.

To mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022, local communities nominated heroes from their hometowns.

These heroes have been immortalised as steel figures along the National Cycle Network.

Explore the National Cycle Network

Find walking, wheeling and cycling routes near you

Celebrating Hastings' local heroes

Portrait Bench sculpture outline design of Ann Novotny

Ann Novotny

Ann Novotny has generously dedicated more than three decades to the Old Town community of Hastings.

Her contributions have included maintaining the gardens of St Clement’s Church, audio recording the Hastings Observer for blind and visually impaired people, raising money for the RNLI with New Year’s Day swims, volunteering with victim support, and belly dancing at Jack in the Green celebrations.

Aged 88, Ann continues to lovingly serve her community.

Portrait Bench sculpture outline design of Jimi Riddle

Jimi Riddle

James Robert Read, known by many as Jimi Riddle, was lead singer and frontman of the proto-metal band The Riddles.

An immensely talented musician, Jimi championed the rock and roll scene in Hastings and gave his time and energy to support emerging talent.

Jimi was a true local hero and a born performer.

He will be remembered in both Hastings and all over for his creativity, his humour, and his endless kindness for everyone around.

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Find more Portrait Benches across the UK