VILLAGERS in Winsley have launched a programme of summer events to raise funds for a new footbridge over the Kennet & Avon Canal at Limpley Stoke.

The first took place on Sunday, with local resident, Judy Spence, offering cream teas in the garden of her home opposite the canal. The event raised £336.

The Winsley Hill Traffic Action Group needs to raise £140,000 to design, build and install the bridge over the canal parallel to the B3108 main road.

WHTAG chairman Dr Trisha Waters said: “Sunday’s event was a huge success. Our income now stands at £4,836 - just another £135,164 to go.

“This stretch of the B3108 in the vicinity of the canal bridge between Winsley and Limpley Stoke villages is very dangerous.

“There is no pavement for pedestrians who have to walk into the path of fast-moving traffic coming round blind bends.”

“We have campaigned for Wiltshire Highways to put pavements on either side of the bridge but they cannot put in a pavement over the canal bridge as the road is too narrow there.

“Also, as Wiltshire are only liable for the actual highway, they are unable to fund a pedestrian bridge.

“Consequently, as local residents, we have started the Bridge@175 campaign to raise funds to build a pedestrian bridge ourselves.

“We have the support of Winsley and Limpley Stoke parish councils and are now looking to raise both awareness and funds to build this valuable community asset.”

The village says a footbridge next to canal bridge 175 will make life easier for the elderly and those with children.

In addition, walkers, mothers with pushchairs and people using mobility scooters will be able to gain easier access to the canal towpath.

The next event is a concert and curry night on Sunday, June 24.

WHTAG already has £1,000 from Winsley Parish Council and a £3,500 grant from the Bradford on Avon Area Board towards the project.

The group will also apply for grants and seek donations from individuals and local businesses. Donations of £500 or more will be recorded on the bridge.

The scheme is being backed by the Canal & River Trust, Wiltshire Highways and local landowner, Conkwell Grange Stables, which has offered to donate a piece of land to build the footbridge.