VILLAGERS REJOICE IN WALK ALONG THEIR NEW BYPASS
MORE than 600 people took part in a celebration walk along the new multi-million pound Temple Sowerby bypass on Sunday.
The walk marked the culmination of years of tireless campaigning to have the village bypassed and also raised in excess of £5,000 for Temple Sowerby Victory Hall refurbishment fund.
Residents from all over Eden took part in the once in a lifetime event to walk the four-mile road. The route started near the Morland road to the east of Temple Sowerby and headed towards Cliburn before returning on the opposite carriageway.
Dave Bates, who helped organise the event with his wife, Chris, said: “It was a very pleasant day. We were quite fortunate with the weather and the rain held off until we were nearly finished.
“Everyone enjoyed the day and a lot of people walking were from the surrounding villages. The new bypass will mean a lot to them in the future as well as to those in Temple Sowerby. It was a unique opportunity to walk on that road before the traffic comes.”
People of all age ranges tackled the route, from children in pushchairs to those aged in their 80s, with most taking an average of an hour and a half to tread the bypass.
Work began on the £39.6 million road in March, 2006, and the Highways Agency says it could be opened to traffic in autumn, ahead of the spring 2008 schedule.
Taking part in the walk was one of the leading campaigners, Temple Sowerby GP Dr. Gavin Young, who was joined by his son, James. It was a poignant day for the Young family after James was badly hurt in an accident on the A66 in 1993 when he was aged 13.
“It is a delight and huge relief to see the village bypassed,” said Dr. Young. “It was a very cheerful day and despite the threat of rain nothing could dampen people’s excitement.”
He explained that villagers have been campaigning for the bypass since the 1960s and he has personally been involved since 1982 when the Government scrapped plans for the route. In 1984 it was put back on to the trunk roads program and villagers have been waiting 23 years for it to be developed.
Fund-raising from the celebratory walk has so far topped £5,000 and sponsorship money continues to be donated. The cash is a further step towards the hall refurbishment fund’s £350,000 target. It will be used for a total overhaul of the village’s landmark building.