A folk singer dismayed at the condition of the Tyne Bridge turned a traditional Geordie song into a plea to restore the rusty icon.
Jamie Brown was inspired to join the cause of promoting the famous passage’s long-awaited restoration after being saddened by images of its current state of disrepair broadcast across the country during the recent Great North Run.
The 36-year-old from Gateshead decided to compose a ditty to highlight the plight of the bridge, rewriting the words of legendary Geordie bard Joe Wilson “The Bonny Gateshead Lass” to turn it into “The Bonny” Tyne Bridge “.
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It has been two decades since the Grade II * listed structure last underwent major maintenance and is in urgent need of a new paint job and many other repairs, as local council leaders and MPs urged government to approve funding offers to get the job done on its centenary in 2028.
Following the 40th anniversary of the half marathon this month, figures such as Newcastle North MP Catherine McKinnell and City Council Chief Nick Forbes were among those who reiterated calls for ministers to support his renovation.
Jamie, who is also a stage actor and director, said: “Seeing the footage of the Great North Run on national television was really a little sad.
“I think a lot of people are feeling left out right now and that is a sign of that, but it’s important because it’s a source of pride for the region.
“There are so many divisive things right now, but the Tyne Bridge is not one of them and it’s something everyone can support.
“It should be something we can all be loud and proud of when everyone’s going through so much right now, but right now the condition of the bridge is a little embarrassing.”
This isn’t the first time the singer has given his own spin on a classic Northeastern tune, having rewritten The Lambton Worm last year to face Boris Johnson’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
The father of two said it “pained me” that his two young daughters’ only memories of the bridge were that it looked shabby.
He added: “People have gotten used to being disappointed with this stuff lately, but it has to be the opposite – we can’t afford for it not to happen.
“I feel like it could really revitalize a lot of people and be a real source of pride for the North East.”
An offer was made by Newcastle City Council, backed by other key names from across the region, to the government upgrade fund in June for £ 18million which would pay for the restoration of the Tyne Bridge.
An earlier offer of £ 40million to pay for a massive refurbishment of the Tyne Bridge and Central Motorway was submitted to the government in the summer of 2019 by Transport for the North and is also awaiting a response.
In addition to a much-needed repaint, the work required also includes repairing structural steelwork and concrete, repairing masonry and masonry, waterproofing and replacing deck joints, etc.
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