Thanks to funding from the Department for Transport, a new series of steel figures are to be installed across some of the country’s most popular cycle paths. The Portrait Benches project has been rolled out in recognition of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee year. Two figures in Warwickshire, installed in October, were the first of 30 to be installed across England in 14 different locations.
Sporting legend David Moorcroft and Louise Sheridan, daughter of Eileen Sheridan, unveil the Portrait Bench figures located on the Lias Line in Warwickshire. Credit: Mark Radford
Community heroes recognised
Two individuals from Coventry and Warwickshire have been immortalised in steel as figures on a local section of the National Cycle Network.
Residents in the area were asked who they believed had made a positive impact on their local community in the last seven decades, in celebration of the UK’s longest-reigning monarch.
One of the figures chosen was current parkrun Chair David Moorcroft OBE.
David is a former Olympic middle and long-distance runner as well as a former BBC pundit.
He was chosen as one of the figures alongside Eileen Sheridan.
One of the most famous cyclists of her time, she re-wrote all 21 British women’s road records.
Perhaps most notably, Land’s End to John O’Groats in 1954, taking two days, eleven hours and seven minutes to complete.
The figures were recently unveiled at a ceremony in the presence of representatives gathered to mark the occasion.
Members of the local Dallas Burston Polo Club parkrun joined David Moorcroft and members of the Coventry Cycling Club as well as Eileen Sheridan’s daughter, Louise.
Members of the local Dallas Burston Polo Club parkrun and the Coventry Cycling Club joined David Moorcroft and Eileen Sheridan’s daughter, Louise. Credit: Mark Radford
Warwickshire’s longest greenway
The figures have been placed on the Lias Line, a disused railway route which has recently been transformed into Warwickshire’s longest greenway.
It's a 4.2km off-road track for cycling and walking, with an additional section for horses.
The £5.1m project was funded by the Department for Transport and other partners through Sustrans' Paths for everyone programme to enhance the National Cycle Network.
David Moorcroft and Louise Sheridan (daughter of Eileen Sheridan) sit on the Lias Line Portrait Bench next to the figures. Credit: Mark Radford
Going above and beyond for communities
We are custodians of the National Cycle Network, which spans 12,000 miles of signed routes for walking, wheeling and cycling.
It includes over 5,000 miles of traffic-free paths.
We've already installed over 250 life-sized steel figures across the length and breadth of the UK as part of the Portrait Benches project.
Each celebrates the achievements of individuals and groups who have gone above and beyond for their communities.
The figures have been designed and fabricated using corten steel by the renowned artists Katy and Nick Hallett.
Local sporting heroes Eileen Sheridan and David Moorcroft have been immortalised as steel figures on the Lias Line in Warwickshire. Credit: Mark Radford
Improved health and wellbeing for everyone
Speaking at the unveiling, David Moorcroft said:
“It’s a great honour to be part of this project and to be stood next to Eileen, who was such a legend from the world of cycling in Coventry and Warwickshire.
“Particularly as Sustrans is so committed to promoting healthier ways of living and healthier forms of transport.”
Louise Sheridan, daughter of Eileen Sheridan, was also present at the unveiling and said:
“Our family is very pleased and honoured that mum has been chosen by the people of Warwickshire.
“She has many happy memories of cycling with the Coventry Cycling Club through the lanes of Warwickshire.
“She thinks Sustrans and the National Cycle Network make a fantastic contribution to the health and wellbeing of everyone.”
Clare Maltby, our England Director, Midlands & East, explained:
“We’re thrilled to see David Moorcroft and Eileen Sheridan recognised for the positive impact they've made to the residents of Coventry and Warwickshire.
“At Sustrans, we’re committed to ensuring that the National Cycle Network continues to enable as many people as possible to walk, wheel, cycle, and run, and as paths for everyone, that they celebrate our local communities, cultures, and heritage.”