Published: 00:01, 20 March 2016
A new pedestrian footbridge will be named after a Spitfire pilot who crashed in Herne Bay during the Second World War.
The long-awaited structure – which will be lifted into place today (Sunday) alongside Blacksole Bridge – will cross the railway and link the Altira Business Park with Beltinge and Mickleburgh Hill.
It will be called The Albert Hugo Friday Bridge in honour of the pilot, who was killed in 1942 when his Spitfire suffered engine failure above Beltinge.
Former city councillor Peter Vickery-Jones, who campaigned for the bridge to open for eight years, said: “I think it’s a great idea – it’s a wonderful thing to do.
“Apparently that’s where his fighter came down and there’s been a memorial there ever since, but when I was told that’s the name of it I thought it was brilliant.
“It’s not recognising anyone of the modern times, it’s recognising someone really worthy from earlier days.”
The 51-metre bridge – which has been paid for using developer contributions from Urban&Civic and Kitewood – arrived in the town on Monday after being built off-site.
It will be lifted into place on Sunday at 11am, subject to weather conditions.
It should take between 15 to 20 minutes to install before opening on Tuesday, April 26, once further work is carried out.
Mr Vickery-Jones added: “I am so convinced it will save lives.
“Right from when I was elected for that area in 2007, I was working to try and get that bridge installed.
"From what I have seen of it, the bridge will be a magnificent beast..." - Peter Vickery-Jones
“From what I have seen of it, the bridge will be a magnificent beast.
“It is going to be a wonderful structure.”
Mr Vickery-Jones says he thinks the covered bridge will be a life saver, allowing people to avoid the busy road crossing.
He added: “I am so convinced it will save lives.
“I think the developers Urban&Civic have been really honourable with this.
“There was no requirement for them, would you believe, to install the bridge other than a moral obligation to the people of Herne Bay.”
Contemporary design for enamel panels...
Former art lecturer Kate Samuels, 38, was commissioned by developers to design the bridge’s signs.
The mum-of-two made a pair of enamel panels for the structure, which show Spitfires flying over Herne Bay’s skyline.
Mrs Samuels, of Canterbury Road, said: “I was at a business event at the Kings Hall and people from Urban&Civic were there.
“I introduced myself, told them that I do panels, and they called me after that.
“I have done quite a few art installations but this is probably the biggest public piece of work I have done..." - Kate Samuels
“It’s great that they have supported someone from Herne Bay; I live just two minutes down the road.”
Mrs Samuels had the panels made in the Isle of Wight – at the same place where London Underground signs are made.
She added: “They will go above the bridge entrance at either side of it.
“It’s quite a contemporary design.
“I have done quite a few art installations but this is probably the biggest public piece of work I have done.”
More by this authorDan Wright