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50p                                      Inside:                                 1

                                                                                            Banned canvas becomes the star exhibit, P3
                                                                        where sold
                                                                                                    New era for Toll Bar House, P6

                                                                                                         Bloomin’ fabulous! P11
                                                                                           Police plea for help after man is attacked, P12
                                                                                                          The Fair is back! P13

                                                                                        Anthony Opiah meets Revd Christine French, P20
                                                                                              Ilkeston Town match reports, P23 and 24
       October 2021          Written by the community for the community                        plus your letters, poems, family announcements,

       Where people tell their stories      No. 74      www.ilkestonlife.com       50p where sold       crossword and regular columns
       Cheering our readers in Ilkeston and surrounding districts
       Iron to Iron: Friends of Bennerley




       Viaduct complete 330-mile bike ride






       By Jeff Wynch                         stretch through Breadsall to Lime Lane. The
       Seventeen tired but triumphant cyclists ended   route from Derby to Nottingham was desig-
                                             nated the Great Northern Greenway many
       a six day, 330 mile trip on Sunday 19th   years ago but still only exists in bits and piec-
       September under the Bennerley Viaduct.  The   es.  The Friends hope that the opening of the
       group (average age sixty) of two women and   viaduct might focus attention on the need to
       fifteen men had just completed the inaugu-  fill in the gaps to provide a traffic free route
       ral ride of the “Iron to Iron”, a Cycling UK   between the two East Midlands cities.
       recognised long distance route devised by          Radio Stars
       Kieran Lee of the Friends of Bennerley Via-  The trip was followed every mile of the way
       duct. The tour was part of a cultural heritage   by the Erewash Sound radio car, and listeners
       project sponsored by American Express   were updated with progress and interviews
       through the Friends’ association with the   with riders every day. Many of these broad-
       World Monuments Fund.                 casts were shared with other independent
                    New Route                radio stations along the route. Paul Atherley
       The new route links the country’s two   drove the support vehicle – known as the
       remaining Victorian wrought iron railway   “broom wagon” in cycling circles. Fortunate-
       bridges – the Meldon in Devon and our   ly none of the riders needed to be swept up   Back to Bennerley.  The cyclists celebrate the end of the ride.   Two more pics: P2
       own Bennerley Viaduct. The itinerary was   and Paul could concentrate on filming some
       designed to take in a number of other historic   fantastic drone footage of the sights and the
       bridges along the way.                riders. Getting ahead of the riders on some
       Starting at the Meldon Viaduct – similar   stages he could also display the “Iron to Iron”
       construction to Bennerley, but as the Friends   banner. From Devon to Derbyshire there can-
       never tire of saying, “Ours is longer” – the   not be many people now who have not heard
       riders headed for Taunton.  Next day it was   of the Bennerley Viaduct.
       off to Bristol via the spectacular but demand-    Welcome back
       ing climb through the Cheddar Gorge. No   In bright sunshine on Sunday afternoon
       prizes for guessing that the Clifton Suspen-  the riders rolled down the last few hundred
       sion Bridge was the centre of interest. The   metres to the cheers of family, friends and
       group also met John Grimshaw, who came up   supporters. The iron trestles of the viaduct
       with ideas about using the Bennerley Viaduct   were festooned with banners and bunting and
       as a bike and walking route in the 1980s   there was a plentiful supply of cake. Every
       long before he founded Sustrans, the cycling   rider received a commemorative poster de-
       charity.                              signed for the ride by Stephen Millership, the
       Thursday saw the peloton crossing the   Ilkeston born artist whose “artist’s impres-
       Severn Bridge and calling in at Chepstow to   sion” of the finished viaduct adorns some of
       see Brunel’s “other bridge”.  The journey to   the Friends’ merchandise. Emma Sweeney
       Welsh Bicknor was made easier by a ride on   of the World Monuments Fund made the
       the Forest of Dean heritage railway, where   presentations which included a special WMF
       Kieran Lee was delighted to pick up his copy   musette (that’s the bag for your snap!).
       of Ilkeston Life.  The following day some of   Kieran Lee thanked all those who had helped
       the party (they shall remain nameless) rested   to organise the ride and the seventeen who
       their legs again on the Severn Valley Railway   had completed it. “This week has been a
       between Bewdley and Bridgnorth. The group   wonderful experience with a great bunch of
       was reunited at the Coalport Youth Hostel   people. Many of us hadn’t met each other
       where next morning they had the pleasure of   before last Tuesday and we are a very diverse
       meeting Sir Neil Cossons OBE, patron of the   collection of folks, but now we are firm
       Friends of Bennerley Viaduct. Sir Neil’s evi-  friends. Anyone who was having a tough time
       dence at the 1980 public enquiry into British   could rely on support. I had one particularly
       Rail’s bid to demolish the viaduct was crucial   hard day and was good for nothing at the
       in obtaining a stay of execution.  The main   end.  I’m supposed to be the organiser but
       attraction in this area is of course the world’s   the others just lifted me off the bike, carried
       first iron bridge.                    me inside and sorted everything. We are so
       Saturday’s route was west via Cannock Chase   euphoric about this ride that we are already
       to Moira in the National Forest.  On the final   planning the next one – Iron to Iron North - a
       day there were iron bridges aplenty: the Fer-  trip south from the Borders via some iconic
       rybridge linking Stapenhill and Burton, Friar-  bridges to Bennerley.”
       gate Bridge and the Derwent Bridge in Derby,
       before finishing underneath the Bennerley   www.bennerleyviaduct.org.uk
                                             Email  [email protected]
       Viaduct. Parts of the route from Egginton to   Twitter  @TheironGiant
       Bennerley followed the former Great North-  Facebook  Bennerley Viaduct Friends Group
       ern Railway line including the very pleasant   [email protected]
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