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Trophies preserve bridge's history

Milnerton golf club will have two trophies donated to it thanks to the hard work of a local resident.

Simon Bezuidenhout (72) from Milnerton made these trophies out of the wood he salvaged from the Woodbridge Island bridge that is being upgraded.

The bridge that is over 100 years old is being maintained.

The wooden bridge is a provincial heritage site and the only surviving structure of its kind in South Africa.

Mayco member for transport Felicity Purchase says: “As such, the City has an obligation, in terms of the National Heritage Resources Act to preserve this structure. It is furthermore considered to be a landmark structure and once restored, will become a functional non-motorised transport (NMT) link to Woodbridge island,” she says.

If all goes as planned the upgrades should be completed within the next month or so.

“This is four months later than anticipated due to initial delays in the supply of timber and inclement weather,” says Purchase.

The total contract cost is to upgrade the bridge stands at R23.4 million and the construction commenced in April last year.

When work started at the bridge Bezuidenhout picked up some of the wood and he made the trophies.

“They were going to throw away some of the wood because it could not be used. They tried to keep some of the wood and they cleaned it for re-use so I picked the pieces which they were not going to use,” he says adding that when picked the wood it was just out of love of wood and at the time, he didn’t know what he was going to do with it.

He also used two 75-year-old golf clubs in his creations.

Bezuidenhout also made a wooden trophy for the Milnerton bowls club.

“These clubs have been there as long as the bridge has been, so for me doing this was more about preserving history. I want the old and the new players to remember this bridge in a different way.

“My idea was to preserve a little bit of heritage, it will be nice for people to know about the history of the bridge,” he says.

His hope is that the golf club will use the trophies as floating trophies in their competitions. Bezuidenhout retired a couple of years ago and has always enjoyed woodwork as a hobby.

He says working with wood keeps him busy and helps him earn a little bit of extra cash. He restores antique furniture to boost his pension. Bezuidenhout also loves collecting antique sports equipment.

“I have very old golf clubs, cricket bats, tennis rackets and hockey sticks. I really love sport – that is why I decided to do something for the clubs,” he says.

He believes it is important to keep busy, no matter how old you are.

“You must keep your mind and body busy and I do this by restoring furniture.”

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