Fashion designer Julien Macdonald opens Merthyr's Puddlers Bridge
Fashion designer Julien Macdonald returned to his home town yesterday to open a new bridge, calling Merthyr Tydfil a "beautiful part of Wales".
In a change from unveiling glamorous catwalk creations and working in the upper echelons of celebrity society, Macdonald opened the new bridge at the ceremony in Pentrebach.
The bridge forms part of the Trevithick Trail, a walking and cycling route named after inventor and mining engineer Richard Trevithick who was influential in the area in the early 1800s. It has been named Puddlers Bridge after local resident Alan Lewis won a Sustrans competition to name the structure.
A steel sculpture of Macdonald now stands alongside one of Trevithick and one of fellow designer Laura Ashley next to a bench on the route.
Macdonald said: "It's a really special feeling to have the people from the area I grew up in recognise me in this way, and I hope the portrait bench becomes a well-used and familiar part of the landscape.
"Merthyr is a beautiful part of Wales and a route like this one will inspire more people to get out on foot or bike and discover just how beautiful it is."
Macdonald was joined by pupils of Afon Taf school, Sustrans Cymru and Cllr Jeff Edwards, Leader of Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council for the opening.
The designer has not presented a collection at this week's London Fashion Week. As Wales Online revealed last month, Macdonald has given the event a miss to concentrate on his career in America, creating made-to-measure outfits for some of the biggest Hollywood stars.