That’s not bad going for a white elephant

Peace Bridge
Peace Bridge

Before it was built, the Peace Bridge was a much-slated concept.

Condemned as a waste of money and another white elephant for the city, the merchants of doom warned that not a toe would be set upon it.

The Peace Bridge bench made by MiM NI

The Peace Bridge bench made by MiM NI

But, the bridge, which marked it’s fourth ‘birthday’ last week has proved the nay-sayers very wrong indeed. The bridge has become so much more than just a foot and cycle path.

Over four million people have been estimated to have crossed the iconic structure.

Mo Durkan, ILEX Director of Communications, said 18 events in the last financial year staged that the organisation were aware of.

It is one of the first go-to structures in the city for official photocalls involving the Mayor and other dignitaries and wedding photographers.

Stylised versions of the bridge creeping into every day life and even into company logos?

Among those to embrace the image are designers and students, as well as community groups like the Bridging Communities initiative, while the Post Office selected a dramatically-lit image of the Peace Bridge to adorn a first class postage stamp. Engineering company MiM NI has fashioned benches using the Peace Bridge as the design template and city jewellers have even got in on the act.

The bridge is also used for staging charity activities, such as the Brides Across Bridge (Foyle Hospice).

Community fundraiser Irene Hewitt, who staged a Cha Cha Slide on it, said choosing the bridge had been a deliberate move that had help win an award, while Eileen Warren, at Children in Crossfire said they, too, had deliberately chosen the bridge for the Culture of compassion event, attracted 2,000 people with 300 children draping the bridge with flags while the Dalai Lama walked across it.