History bench immortalises Padiham’s past

Thomas who appears on the new Connect2 Big Lottery Portrait Bench on Padiham Greenway.'Photo Ben Parsons
Thomas who appears on the new Connect2 Big Lottery Portrait Bench on Padiham Greenway.'Photo Ben Parsons

A BENCH that charts the history and heritage of the town has been unveiled on Padiham Greenway.

The Portrait Bench, which features carved steel 2D images, was launched during a special ceremony.

The images are of Albert Smith who worked on the former railway line before it was transformed into the Greenway, and Margaret Pearson, better known as the “Padiham Witch” as she was famously the only one of the 17th Century Samlesbury witches to be successfully tried for witchcraft after she was convicted of bewitching a horse.

The third image is of Burnley schoolboy Thomas Lund (15) who won a competition to design the logo for the Greenway. His prize was a bike and the chance to be immortalised on the bench.

The project has been overseen and financed by Sustrans North of England which was awarded a £50m. grant from the Big Lottery Fund to help transform the once derelict and decaying former Padiham-to-Rosegrove railway line into a landscaped path and cycleway.

The Portrait Bench is one of the projects being introduced to give the Greenway something extra.

The people of Padiham and Burnley were asked for their ideas and opinions on who they thought should feature on the bench.

Dave Stevens, from Sustrans in the North of England said, “It’s fantastic residents have chosen such a magic mix of characters to adorn their portrait bench, showcasing the history of the area.”

The bench was opened by Mayor and Mayoress of Padiham Coun. Bob Clark and his wife Ann, along with relatives of Albert Smith, Thomas Lund and representatives from Sustrans.