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King's Lynn celebrates local heroes

Some of the Alive West Norfolk, Borough Council, Queen Elizabeth Hospital teams with invited guests at the new portrait bench based at Lynnsport.

Published: Wednesday, 1st February 2023

Published on behalf of Sustrans.

A legendary King’s Lynn footballer and NHS staff from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital have been immortalised in steel as figures on a local section of the National Cycle Network, Route One. The ‘portrait benches’ project has been rolled out in recognition of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee year thanks to funding from the Department for Transport.

As part of a national campaign by walking and cycling charity, Sustrans, residents in the area were invited to have their say. They were asked who they believe has made a positive impact on their local community in the last seven decades, in celebration of the UK’s longest-reigning monarch.

One of the figures nominated and chosen was the late legendary footballer, Malcolm Lindsay, who passed away in March 2022. A prolific goal scorer for King’s Lynn Town FC between 1965 – 1969, he still holds the club record of 321 goals in 749 games. He went on to help Cambridge United FC reach the professional Football League in 1970. Later, returning to his roots in King’s Lynn, he ran several pubs with his wife Pat, including The Bentinck, which became a hub for people living in the area. 

He was selected alongside the collective staff at the local Queen Elizabeth Hospital in recognition of their role during the Covid-19 pandemic. Considered to be at the heart of the local community, the hospital employs 4,587 members of staff including nurses, doctors, porters, caterers, administrative staff and other health professionals. Displayed as an NHS nurse, the figure will represent the town’s NHS heroes and stand in solidarity with 1.3 million NHS staff members nationwide. 

In total, a series of 30 new life-sized corten steel figures are being installed across England. They’ll complement the existing 250 figures which were installed as part of the Portrait Bench campaign over 12 years ago. They’ve been designed and fabricated by renowned artists Katy and Nick Hallett and will be installed at 14 of the most popular cycle paths across the National Cycle Network.

On Thursday 26th January, delegates gathered to unveil the King’s Lynn figures at their new home on Route One of the National Cycle Network at the Lynnsport Leisure Centre on Greenpark Avenue. Attendees included four generations of Malcolm Lindsay’s family, Chair of Kings Lynn Football Club, local councillors and representatives of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Alive West Norfolk and the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk. They were joined by pupils from Howard Junior School including Malcolm’s great-grandson.

Speaking at the unveiling, Malcolm Lindsay’s grandson, David Major, said: “As a family we’ve been so touched by the local community’s outpouring of love and support since the death of Malcolm last year. We really appreciate Sustrans promoting local heroes through this fantastic project, and we hope it will inspire more people to be active. It’s wonderful that grandad will be able to watch over his great grandson at football training and hundreds of other children playing here for years to come.”

Malcolm Lindsay’s granddaughter added: “Thank you to Sustrans for immortalising my legend of a Grandad! It means so much to me and my boy to have him watching over us at Lynnsport.”

Paul Brooks, Director of Estates at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, was also present at the unveiling and said: “We’re delighted that the community and Sustrans have chosen to honour the frontline health care staff at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn through this project. Everyday health care workers go to work with the sole aim of providing the best possible care for members of our community. It means a lot to everyone here at Team QEH that the local community wants to recognise and thank us in this way.”

Clare Maltby, Sustrans England Director, Midlands & East, explained: “We’re thrilled to see Malcolm Lindsay and staff at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital recognised in this way. Just like the National Cycle network, they’re at the heart of the community. At Sustrans, we’re committed to ensuring that the National Cycle Network continues to enable as many people as possible to walk, wheel, cycle, and run, and as ‘Paths for Everyone’ that they celebrate our local communities, cultures, and heritage.”

Sustrans are custodians of the National Cycle Network, which spans 12,000 miles of signed cycling routes including over 5,000 miles of traffic-free paths. Sustrans continues to improve the network locally as part of the England-wide ‘Paths for Everyone’ programme.

In King’s Lynn, accessibility has been improved by the removal of five A-frame barriers, including through Wootton Park. They’re also working with Norfolk County Council to improve Route One of the National Cycle Network along the North Norfolk coast. This means better connected communities with safer, more accessible routes to walk, wheel and cycle.

Sustrans volunteers remain active in King’s Lynn, and they will be auditing the network to identify any other barriers in the town and surrounding area.

A plaque was unveiled by Howard Junior School students next to the new portrait bench.

A plaque was unveiled by Howard Junior School students next to the new portrait bench.

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