Canalside tribute to our local heroes

Robin Lyon, Joy Lyon, Reg Adams and Robin Barr
Robin Lyon, Joy Lyon, Reg Adams and Robin Barr

Former swimming coach Reg Adams could be forgiven for doing a double take when he walks along the Forth &Clyde Canal.

He has been captured for posterity as part of a unique and lasting tribute to local heroes beside the popular waterway towpath.

Steel cutouts next to a wooden bench, close to Lock 14, immortalise iconic figures linked to the area and are part of national public art project by sustainable transport charity Sustrans and Scottish Canals, supported by the Big Lottery Fund.

Reg, who was awarded an MBE for his work with Grangemouth Amateur Swimming Club, is flanked by Irn-bru founder Robert Barr and Dr Harold Lyons, who founded Strathcarron Hospice.

They fought off the likes of William Wallace to make it onto the bench after local people voted on a shortlist compiled by pupils at Bainsford Primary and St Mungo’s High schools.

Reg (83), of Grangemouth, said he was both proud and unnerved by his doppelganger. He said: “I’m honoured to be featured on the bench, but it’s very strange to be looking at myself, especially as I seem a good few years younger!’’

Robin Barr, chairman of Barr Soft Drinks and Robert Barr’s great-grandson, said; “My great-grandfather started Barr Soft Drinks in a factory on nearby Burnfoot Lane, so we have a long-standing connection with Falkirk.

‘‘As a family and a business we’re honoured that he has been chosen by the people of the town to be remembered as part of this exciting project.”

Tuesday’s unveiling of the bench, also saw the opening of a newly upgraded section of towpath between Locks 10 and 16, refurbished at a cost of £100,000.