A Second World War veteran, a headscarf heroine and Hull’s first female GP are among five figures who could inspire the name for Hull’s new bridge spanning the A63.
These are just some of the influential figures students from Newland School for Girls and Archbishop Sentamu Academy have written about after they were tasked with writing essays to the question: “The naming of the bridge – who inspires me and why?”
A judging panel then sifted through more than 100 essay entries to produce a shortlist of five individuals who all have close links with the city.
The shortlist includes Second World War veteran Thomas Ransom – a great uncle of one of the students. Ransom flew around 30 missions in a Lancaster bomber and was shot down over the Atlantic Ocean. He survived the war and died in 2017 aged 97.
Second on the list is Dr Mary Murdoch who was Hull’s first female GP, House Surgeon at the Victoria Hospital for Sick Children in Park Street and founder of the Hull Women’s Suffrage Society.
The remaining three names include “headscarf revolutionary” Lillian Bilocca, philanthropist and abolitionist William Wilberforce and Julia Lee, the first woman to officiate men’s rugby league games in the UK.
Highways England senior project manager James Leeming said: “I can speak for the entire panel when I say we were really impressed by the calibre of the entries and it was a real challenge to narrow the list down to five.
“Now we are asking the public to come along and cast their vote on who they think should inspire the name of the new bridge which is going to significantly improve connectivity in the centre of Hull.”
From Monday 9 March, five boxes will be placed at Hull Minster, where the public can go to read the essays and decide who to vote for by placing a token in their chosen box. Voting will close on Monday 23 March.
The judging panel includes Hull West and Hessle MP Emma Hardy, Hull City Council deputy leader Daren Hale, The Deep CEO Katy Duke, Humber LEP investment programme manager Karen Oliver-Spry and key members of the Highways England project team.
“When we have the results of the online and Minster votes, the judging panel will work with the winner and their school to finalise a name for the bridge based on the winning theme,” said Mr Leeming.
The new name and winner will be announced during a ceremony at the official opening in spring.
The structure is being part-funded with a £4m contribution from the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership’s Local Growth Fund programme, secured through its growth deals with Government and part of the Government’s commitment to the Northern Powerhouse.
The vote will open on the Highways England website shortly.