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Walkway ceremony a stroll for Graham

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FAMOUS SON: Graham Norton and his mother, Rhoda, at the launch of the walkway named after him in Bandon

FAMOUS SON: Graham Norton and his mother, Rhoda, at the launch of the walkway named after him in Bandon

FAMOUS SON: Graham Norton and his mother, Rhoda, at the launch of the walkway named after him in Bandon

FORGET the Hollywood Walk of Fame – Bandon in Co Cork has just opened the Graham Norton River Walk.

The picturesque walkway, which Norton officially launched, celebrates the region's most famous export.

The TV star, whose Graham Norton Show is on BBC One on Fridays and TV3 on Saturdays, flew home to do the honours at the opening ceremony.

He described the event as "a landmark" in his life which made him realise how far he had come.

Bandon Mayor Deirdre Lane said the town was proud of him.

"It is a great honour to welcome home Graham Norton as part of the Rebel Week Gathering 2013 celebrations," she said. "Bandon is truly proud of Graham Norton and his achievements to date."

The riverside is in the process of being transformed into a major tourist attraction, and the local community hope Norton's fame will attract thousands of visitors.

As well as the Norton Walk, a new skate park and multi-use games area will be developed along the banks of the River Bandon.

Cork Rebel Week proposed the walkway as part of Cork's Gathering event, which runs from October 14 until 20.

The organising committee had initially suggested creating a statue of Norton, but the modest star thought that a life-sized bronze likeness would be "something of an eyesore".

"I must write to them and beg them not to make it," he said earlier this year. "It's such a waste of money and would look hideous."

Rebel Week organiser Padraic O'Kane said Norton thought the statue was a little excessive given the economic crisis.

"Mr Norton feels, during these recessionary times, that a statue would not be appropriate," said Mr O'Kane.

Instead, the Bandon host town committee and Norton decided that a leafy walkway was a much better idea.

hnews@herald.ie


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