Artist’s vision to enhance ‘wasted’ showcase Preston bridge

Vision: Bernie Blackburn's mock-up design of what Fishergate bridge could look like
Vision: Bernie Blackburn's mock-up design of what Fishergate bridge could look like
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An artist’s grand vision for a landmark bridge has been backed by Preston City Council.

Fishergate bridge is a major route in and out of the city centre and Bernie Blackburn believes the hot spot could be used to celebrate proud Preston and proud Prestonian’s.

The artist wants to put iconic images of Sir Tom Finney, Avenham Park and Preston Bus Station in the ‘picture frame’ moulds on the bridge.

And 49-year-old Bernie, from Lea, Preston, has urged the bridge owners not to waste the golden opportunity to showcase Preston’s major attractions.

He said: “Leaving the 129 panels on the bridge blank is like having a fantastic shop window at our disposal and not putting any goods on display.

“The panels on both sides of the road would be better employed if they showcased the city’s numerous attractions instead of just being blank.

“The images could be printed on to self-adhesive vinyl cut to size and stuck into place - giving one of the city’s major gateways an eye-catching appearance and offering a warm Prestonian welcome to visitors.”

And PCC leader Peter Rankin supports the innovative idea.

He said: “It is a good idea and we will be asking Lancashire County Council to take up the idea with the owners of the bridge - Network Rail.”

Bernie was inspired after a walk with his partner and fellow artist Jo Cook.

He created an image of how the bridge could look and he hopes Prestonian’s back his idea.

He said: “I’d urge PCC, LCC and Network Rail to make this a reality.

“The whole bridge was painted in grey undercoat apart from the mouldings within each panel - which had already been given a coat of black gloss.

“As we were passing Jo said they resembled a row of picture frames on a gallery wall. And so I mocked up the proposal and after many hours it looked fantastic.

“The images could be easily changed on an annual basis and even tailored to suit specific events in the city. I’ve been surprised at the positive reaction to the concept and I’m interested to find out what people think about the idea.”