A cycle route named in honour of a 22-year-old who died more than a decade ago will be a fitting tribute, his father has said. Brian Mathews was speaking after the fourth and final section of the scheme in Harbour Road, Rye, was completed by East Sussex County Council.
The cycle and pedestrian route has been officially named Graham’s Way in memory of Mr Mathews’ son, who tragically died after being hit by a car while cycling in the road in 2004. He said: “It’s been a long haul, but it’s a delight to see it finished and it will be a tribute to my son. When I heard it was going to be called Graham’s Way I felt inside it was something that Graham deserved.
“I was determined from the outset he wasn’t going to die in vain and that something good would come out of this tragedy, and that’s happened now. I just hope that cyclists will use the route because it’s there for a purpose – and that’s their safety.” There are however mixed views about how safe the early sections of the cycle route and whether the route overall is a success – or whether this road is still “an accident waiting to happen“.
The first three sections of the route, which runs from Rye Harbour Village to Rye Paddock, were completed between 2006 and 2008, but completion of the scheme was delayed due to funding and land issues. The final phase of the £1 million plus project was officially opened last Tuesday, September 15, at an event attended by dignitaries, members of the Mathews family and those who have supported the scheme.
Councillor Keith Glazier, county council leader and member for Rye and Eastern Rother, said: “We’re really pleased to have completed the route, which will mean Graham Mathews’ name is remembered in Rye for generations to come. We do appreciate that the scheme has taken longer to finish than we would have liked, and we’re grateful to the family, and to the people of Rye, for bearing with us. This route will make a real difference in providing a safe route which can be enjoyed by residents and by visitors to the area.”
Graham’s father paid tribute to the efforts of those who helped to bring the route to fruition, including publisher and member of the Rye Wheelers Jim Holland, a long-term supporter of his campaign. Mr Mathews said: “It’s not just me who’s achieved this. Jim has been instrumental in getting this up and running, councillors and council officers have been working behind the scenes, and the people of Rye have done their bit to help us achieve what we’ve achieved.”
(Source: East Sussex County Council)