Ac­tor Bill’s il­lu­mi­nat­ing call for

‘IN­STANTLY RECOGNISABLE LADIES OF THE CITY NEED LOOK­ING AF­TER’

Sunderland Echo - - News - By Laura Bolden copy­desk.north­east@jpress.co.uk Twit­ter: @Sun­der­lan­dE­cho

“Brighten our bridges”.

That is the call to­day from a Sun­der­land ac­tor who wants to see the city’s cross­ings more il­lu­mi­nated in a move which he thinks will “stamp” Wear­side’s iden­tity back on the map.

Pas­sion­ate Mackem Bill Meeks has be­gun a pe­ti­tion to light up the bridges over the River Wear on the change.org web­site.

Mr Meeks, of South­wick, ar­gues that with Sun­der­land’s 2021 UK City of Cul­ture bid pro­gress­ing and the Tall Ships race just months away from tak­ing place in the city, more needs to be done to il­lu­mi­nate the wa­ter­way’s bridges.

He says he has ap­proached chiefs at Sun­der­land City Coun­cil about his idea and is ea­gerly await­ing to hear back from bosses.

Sun­der­land City Coun­cil says that Wear­mouth Bridge is lit up, although it does not have colour change ca­pa­bil­ity at present.

“I think this is some­thing that is very im­por­tant for Sun­der­land,” said the 52-year-old.

“I saw a lovely pho­to­graph re­cently of Sun­der­land from the sea, but you couldn’t re­ally see the bridges.

“These bridges are the ladies of the city and we need to look af­ter them, they are icons of Wear­side that are in­stantly recognisable and we should be il­lu­mi­nat­ing them bet­ter.

“The Keel Square area which has new light­ing looks bril­liant, it’s re­ally im­proved the place.

“We are in the 21st cen­tury, hav­ing to think about light­ing up our her­itage and dis­play­ing them in their most no­ble and ma­jes­tic form.

“I think we are over­look­ing our mighty bridges that have stood the test of time, do they not de­serve recog­ni­tion?”

Mr Meeks ar­gues the city’s ap­pear­ance would be greatly im­proved if the Wear­mouth, Monkwear­mouth Sta­tion and Queen Alexan­dra bridges and the ar­eas around them were given new light­ing.

“It’s not long un­til we’re in 2018 and the Tall Ships will not be far away so we need to brighten our bridges be­fore then be­cause time is tick­ing on.

“We re­ally want to stamp Sun­der­land’s iden­tity back on the map, be­cause we can’t do it in the dark.

“You look at the area un­der­neath the Wear­mouth Bridge right now and it’s dark and gloomy, no-one wants to go there.

“Places like New­cas­tle, Mid­dles­brough and Hartle­pool have done a much bet­ter job of light­ing up places near their bridges.

“I’m re­ally pas­sion­ate about this be­cause I think it would look won­der­ful. Money is tight at the mo­ment, but low-cost, high wattage light­ing could be used and it would make such a dif­fer­ence.”

We asked Wear­siders what they thought of the idea.

Ge­orge Fog­gon, 69, of Silksworth, said: “I think light­ing up the bridge is a good idea, mainly it will be safer with a feel­ing of se­cu­rity in the dark-

The pe­ti­tion calls for bridges over the Wear to be bet­ter lit.

Bill Meeks.

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