PEOPLE in York have voted for their favourite figures to be immortalised in steel next to a bench on a walking and cycling route.

Award-winning stage and screen actress Dame Judi Dench and local cycle-route-builder Dave Jackson won the public vote and their life-size likenesses are now shown on the National Cycle Network (NCN).

Only those who have contributed to the area in the last 70 years were considered for the ‘potrait bench’, near Bishopthorpe on the York to Selby path.

Dame Judi, who was born and grew up in Heworth, said: “Thanks so much to everyone in York who voted for me on the portrait bench.

 “I’m really delighted to be recognised in this way.

“I think it’s so important for people to have access to traffic-free paths like the York to Selby route, to take a quiet walk, cycle or use a mobility scooter.

 “They also provide great a haven for wildlife to thrive too.”

The bench is one of 30 newly installed across the NCN by Sustrans, a charity which campaigns and creates spaces for easier ways to walk, wheel and cycle.

The total number of these runs to 250, following additions at the time of the platinum jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.

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The first path built by Sustrans was the York to Selby route in 1984, and Dave Jackson was involved in its creation.

The 76-year-old former construction and maintenance manager for the charity said: “I didn’t think I was important enough for people to vote for me!

“Dame Judi is a very well-known and liked actor in this area, so it’s great to have my portrait next to her.

“I worked on most of the cycle routes around this area, both as a Sustrans employee and a volunteer.

“We built the York to Selby path along the disused railway and it quickly became popular for people cycling as well as walking.

“So many people thanked me for what I’d done. It was very rewarding.”

Rosslyn Colderley, Sustrans director for the North of England said: “We’re thrilled to see Dame Judi Dench and Dave Jackson recognised in this way.

"Just like the National Cycle Network, they’re at the heart of the community."

The York to Selby path is also known as route 65 of the NCN and the part from Riccall to York features scale models of the planets in proportion to their distance from the sun and each other, affectionately known as ‘The Solar System Way’.