The historic Royal Albert Bridge which spans between Plymouth, Devon, and Saltash, Cornwall, was lit up tonight in blue as a show of support to the NHS.

The Brunel designed railway bridge over the river Tamar was lit up from 8pm to coincide with the national show of appreciation for everyone who works for the NHS as the country battles coronavirus.

The Network Rail owned bridge, which carries the only railway line connecting the south west with the rest of the country, was lit up from both the Devon and Cornish side of the bridge.   

The lighting of the Royal Albert Bridge, which first opened in 1859, was possible following collaborative working between Network Rail, Ashtorre Rock, a community centre located almost immediately under the Cornish Tower and Plymouth City Council.

Plymouth City Council lit up the Devon side of the bridge from the shore while the Cornish side of the bridge was lit from Ashtorre Rock community Centre who allowed the lights to be set up from their building.

The neighbouring Tamar bridge, which carries road traffic between Devon and Cornwall, was also lit up by the Tamar Bridge and Torpoint Ferry Joint Committee.

Mike Gallop, Network Rail’s Western director, said: “We are really proud of everyone from the NHS and the huge effort they are putting in daily to save lives.

 “It has been great to come together and shine a light on one of the railway’s most famous landmarks in recognition of the NHS.

“We hope to light up the Royal Albert Bridge again in the future when the wider community will be able to leave their homes and see it for themselves.”

Cllr Tudor Evans, Leader of Plymouth City Council, said: “The NHS is one of the great symbols of our country, and the Royal Albert Bridge is one of the great symbols of Plymouth.

“How appropriate that we should light the bridge up in honour of our NHS.”

Cllr Julian German, leader of Cornwall Council, said: “The work of NHS staff in the face of this pandemic has been inspiring, and we are delighted to see this tribute to their bravery and dedication.”

Richard Bickford, a Saltash Town Councillor, said: “Many thanks to Ashtorre Rock for allowing the use of the building during this time. Their location provides a safe place with power to set-up the floodlights and celebrate the work that the NHS is doing.”