Bradley Wiggins seen off by Paddington Bear creator and nurse Mary Seacole in public vote for posterity bench
- Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Ima
He may have won the nation’s hearts setting a Guinness world record with blistering victories at the Olympics and Tour de France, but cycling superstar Bradley Wiggins has been edged out of the running to become one of the area’s immortal heroes... by humble Paddington Bear.
Mr Wiggins, who was raised in Maida Vale and schooled in Kilburn, was one of eight famous faces with links to the area whose silhouette could have graced a new “portrait bench” planned to brighten up a cycling and walking route that will help reconnect the Paddington area.
But he faced stiff competition in the public vote – not only from Paddington Bear’s creator Michael Bond, who still lives in the area, but from eminent personalities including the founder of artificial intelligence Alan Turing, novelist and historian Nancy Mitford and Alexander Fleming, who discovered penicillin at St Mary’s Hospital.
Instead the vote favoured more established legends of the area, and the bench will feature life-size steel silhouettes of Mr Bond, Mr Turing and Mary Seacole, a Jamaican-born nurse who defied 19th century racial prejudice to set up a hospital on the Crimean War battlefield. She was later celebrated for her bravery and diligence, and is buried in St Mary’s Cemetery.
The bench will be unveiled next month by sustainable transport charity Sustrans, who have been supported by Westminster Council, on a walking and cycling route connecting the Paddington Basin to St Mary’s Terrace, currently under construction.
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The Harrow Road divided the area in the 1970s, and the route is aimed at giving people easier access to to local schools, workplaces, shops and St Mary’s Hospital.
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