Bridge to get Blue Peter badge
Published 01/02/2012 | 14:28
A bridge will be the first man-made structure to join an exclusive club alongside the Queen and David Beckham - by receiving a Blue Peter badge.
The Forth Rail Bridge in Fife is to receive a gold Blue Peter badge on Thursday, the first time a structure has been given the honour in the BBC programme's 53-year history.
Blue Peter has given out fewer than 1,000 gold badges, all of them awarded to people who have achieved something extraordinary.
Programme editor Tim Levell said: "Legend says that when the Prince of Wales opened the bridge in 1890 he placed a ceremonial golden rivet on the bridge. However, this has never been found. So we thought it would be a fitting tribute to present the bridge with its own gold badge.
"The Forth Bridge is a truly outstanding piece of engineering and the gold badge is our way of acknowledging the thousands of workers that risked their lives to build it, the hundreds of individuals who have helped to maintain it ever since and the fact that it has benefited millions of British people who have used it in its 121-year history."
In Thursday's episode of Blue Peter, presenter Barney Harwood will visit the bridge, in a programme investigating the history of the structure and the recently completed painting job.
The refurbishment cost £130 million and took 10 years to complete but the paint is expected to last for around 25 years.
Ian Heigh, project manager at Network Rail, said: "Blue Peter viewers have followed the painting and maintenance of the bridge over several decades, so we thought it would be appropriate to give them access again at the end of this unique project.
"It's a great honour to accept the gold Blue Peter badge on behalf of the thousands of men and women who have worked on the bridge over the last 130 years."
A 300ft-high viewing platform on the top of the bridge is being considered by Network Rail. A spokesman said that during the restoration work, lifts were built in all three of the bridge's towers to allow workers access.