A ‘people’s tribute’ to three individuals who have made a major contribution to Shoreham is the centrepiece of a newly-revamped gateway to the beach.
Those crossing the Adur Ferry Bridge from the town centre will now be greeted with a bright new welcome as a long-awaited regeneration project for the Riverside car park is complete.
As well as a new cycle path and flower beds, contractors working for Adur District Council have also installed an eye-catching portrait bench.
This focal point, which has been funded by national sustainable transport charity Sustrans, includes three distinctive, life-size local figures cut from sheet steel and installed alongside a simple bench.
Those who feature – King Charles II, RNLI volunteer Peter Huxtable and silent movie actress Joan Morgan – were chosen by the public as the personification of the things that are important to the community.
Councillor Emma Evans, Adur District Council’s Executive Member for Environment, said: “Shoreham has a fascinating past but also an incredibly bright future, so what better way to combine the two than with this fantastic quirky landmark which celebrates those who have helped put the town on the map.
“It’s fantastic to see this ‘people’s tribute’ already in place and attracting lots of interest as the focal point of the wider Riverside regeneration.
“I want to thank Sustrans for their involvement and invite as many people as possible to cross over to the beach and see it for themselves.”
Whilst the Adur Ferry Bridge was completed in 2013, the work to transform the southern side of the bridge has been delayed due to access issues as a result of the Environmental Agency’s work on the Adur Tidal Walls scheme.
Work on the finishing touches started in September and the five-week project has seen the creation of a new turning area, planting areas, recreational space and access to a hard. It has also involved the installation of the portrait bench, which invites the public to sit or step up into the space and become a part of the portrait group.
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Joan Morgan was the last star of British silent cinema, working for the famous ‘Glasshouse’ Studio on Shoreham Beach in the early days of moving pictures. She became the leading actress, being described as “a beautiful British star”.
After the final defeat of the Royalist army at the Battle of Worcester in 1651 King Charles II travelled 610 miles for six weeks, hotly pursued by the Parliamentarians. He travelled along the South Downs down to Shoreham Harbour where he escaped to France. He did not return to Britain until 1660 when he was invited to reclaim the throne.
Having initially joined the Shoreham crew as a volunteer Peter Huxtable devoted 43 years to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), during which time he helped to save 449 lives at sea. In 1991 he became the coxswain of the Shoreham Lifeboat and continued as such until 2011. In 2005 Peter was awarded an MBE.