Brixham’s 'Walk of Fame’ - a series of cast-iron plates on the Breakwater etched with individual names to celebrate both locals and those who love Brixham, past and present - is to officially opened this weekend.
The project is the brainchild of Neil Worrell and Vicky Pritchard-Davies, the founders of Lighting Up Brixham.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime event,” said Neil.
Vicky added: “Want to see a giant red ribbon being cut? Want to be sprayed with champagne? Want to hear a boring speech? Well, come along at midday to the Breakwater on Saturday, August 28.
“We’ve been planning this for two years. With over 200 names already immortalised, we’re thrilled to have reached this stage.
"When I got cancer three years ago, I prayed that I’d see this day – and I have - so I’m understandably emotional.”
Neil said: “I’m frankly relieved to have the first phase plates down.
"Weighing over 70kg each there is half of a ton of pure cast iron now in place.
"The material reflects the rich history of ore mining in Brixham, the rust on the trawlers in the harbour and the red sails of the heritage boats.
“Our knees are shot, our backs are broken but we are there now, and the outpouring of emotion around these names has taken us completely by surprise.
"Every name encapsulates a life story.”
The first name on the plates is Jackie Robinson, Neil’s wife who died in 2017 of a brain tumour - and whom he says 'was the inspiration behind all of this'.
And with another 200 or so names already registered, the pair are now well on their way to reaching their 1,000-name target.
The Victoria Breakwater extends into Torbay for half-a-mile and 'is named after me', joked Vicky.
She said: "We’re also pleased to have been able to work with Brixham’s Northfield Foundry which has done a great job of casting the plates.”
Neil and Vicky started Lighting Up Brixham two years ago after both having had set-backs in their lives and wanting to make a difference.
“We both raised money for national charities,” said Vicky, but then Neil insisted that we did something for the town.
And already The Walk is making a difference.
“All profits go to the town,” said Neil. “We work for free, and The Walk is already funding our new initiative “Brighten Up Brixham” to paint houses pastel colours.
"It’s also funding six more seasonal lights to add to the 14 already here.
“We’re passionate about the town - and so are thousands of others.
"This new project enables people to celebrate their love for Brixham and support it, in a physical and permanent way.”
Brixham receives more than half a million visitors a year and is currently bouncing back strongly from the pandemic.
Vicky added: ‘Everybody can have their names on the Breakwater from £145. In our view, it’s nicer, and cheaper, than a bench - and no varnishing required! You can stand on ‘The Walk’ and reflect on the people whose names are inscribed - and who will be there for decades.
"Imagine your children and grandchildren visiting in 20-30 years' time... it’s emotional for many and they have already told us so – often with tears in their eyes.”
Money raised by The Walk will be invested in permanent town improvements, say the couple, and they are hopeful that the venture will raise thousands of pounds.
Registration for Phase Two is now open. For information and to register, visit www.brixhamswalkoffame.com
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