Bless this bright green bridge

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A Bainsford minister has blessed the new £840,000 footbridge across the widest part of the River Carron near Falkirk.

The bright green, 157-foot Abbostshaugh footbridge provides an important link for the communities of Bainsford, Langlees, Carron and Carronshore.

The 27-tonne structure - hoisted into position in two parts by a 500-tonne crane - is open to pedestrians and cyclists.

In a special ceremony, Rev Andrew Sarle, Clerk to Falkirk Presbytery, adapted the words used by former Moderator of the General Assembly, Very Rev Dr Derek Browning, to bless the Queensferry Crossing last September.

Mr Sarle, a Local Ordained Minister at Bainsford Parish Church, also poured water from the River Jordan into the River Carron.

He said: “It was something of a surprise to me that I got a request last week to ‘come and bless our new bridge’.

“I thought the words Very Rev Derek Browning used were excellent, so I adapted them to fit this somewhat smaller, but nonetheless impressive, footbridge.

“To me, bridges are a great sign of hope, of enabling people to come together.

“When I worked in interfaith relations, the weekly news digest highlighting good practice in people of different faiths working together that I published was called ‘The Bridge’.”

Dr Browning said: “It’s always flattering and humbling to have someone use your work and it is good that words are said at these moments of new beginning.

“They help create a sense of occasion that point to a future of possibilities and in themselves engineer their own dynamic.”

When it opened in April Councillor Paul Garner, environment spokesman, said: “The Abbotshaugh Bridge represents a significant investment for the local area, and is the first brand new bridge in the Falkirk Council area for over 100 years.

“It will connect residents and visitors to recreation, amenities, employment, the Helix and the Kelpies – one of the biggest tourist attractions in Scotland.

“The bridge and the surrounding paths are ‘shared use’, which means they are easily accessible for cyclists, walkers, users with mobility issues and horse-riders”.