Walberswick bridge is named in tribute to village stalwart

Friends and family of Wally Webb and local Walberswick resident cross over the reopened crabbing bri

Friends and family of Wally Webb and local Walberswick resident cross over the reopened crabbing bridge during its naming ceremony on Saturday, 18 May. - Credit: Archant

A bridge that became a popular crabbing spot has been named in honour of a man who helped save it.

Keith 'Wally' Webb, who died in July last year, was co-founder of the British Open Crabbing Championship, held in Walberswick each year from 1981 to 2010.

But the future of the bridge, built by the Environment Agency over the Dunwich River in the 1960s to allow vehicles to access the beach for sea defence work, was cast into doubt in 2011.

Officials claimed it had become unsafe, was no longer of use and had become a hazardous liability.

However, with the help of Mr Webb, who was also a former chairman for Walberswick Parish Council, the Walberswick Common Lands Charity assumed control of the bridge.

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The charity, Environment Agency and residents all donated funds to help restore the bridge, which is currently being repaired in time for the summer.

And on Sunday the bridge was christened 'Wally's Bridge' in honour of Mr Webb.

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His widow, Pamela Webb, cut the ceremonial ribbon as more than 100 people turned up to show their respects for Mr Webb.

Rita Woodcraft, a trustee of the Walberswick Common Lands Charity, said it was a fitting tribute to Mr Webb.

'Wally played a big part in everything to do with Walberswick. It was an emotional and fitting ceremony,' she added.

'His name was carved into the bridge and his legacy will always be remembered now.

'I crab there regularly with my children and he was a well-known figure there.

'Everyone liked him.

'I would like to thank everyone for their hard work and hopefully we can look forward to having lots of fun crabbing on Wally's Bridge.'

James Darkins, chairman of Walberswick Common Lands Charity, said more than 100 people turned up.

'It was fitting the bridge was named after Wally,' he added. 'He was the chairman of the parish council for many years and a significant contributor to the community.'

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