RESIDENTS can help Bury scoop £500,000 towards the completion of the scenic Kirklees Trail route.

Connect2, a national scheme in which Bury has a stake, is one of four projects which could win up to £50 million of lottery money. Voting will take place to decide which one of the four projects, to feature on ITV next Tuesday, will secure the cash. The others are the Eden Project in Cornwall, Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire and the Black Country Urban Park.

Connect2 is made up of 79 individual projects and is about connecting communities separated by physical barriers such as motorways, rivers or just an absence of routes. This can be achieved by building new paths for pedestrians, cyclists and horseriders. If this project triumphs, Bury stands to gain £500,000 towards the completion of the Kirklees Trail. This scenic route offers a healthier and less frustrating alternative to sitting in a traffic jam on Bury Bridge for people travelling between Greenmount, Tottington, Woolfold, Brandlesholme, Woodhill and Bury town centre.

The Kirklees Trail follows the bed of the old Holcombe Brook branch railway, which was closed to passengers in May 1952. The lottery money would go towards the building of a new bridge to replace Woolfold viaduct, which was blown up in December 1974.

Members of the Friends of Kirklees Valley are throwing their weight behind Connect2. One Friend, Holcombe Brook resident, David Swithenbank remembers travelling to school in Bury on the railway in the 1940's. He said: "The Holcombe boys were let out three minutes early so they could catch the train home for dinner. Parts of Holcombe Brook station walls are still visible next to the shopping precinct."

Fellow member, Brandlesholme resident, Phil Jones, recalls the demolition of the original Woolfold viaduct. He said: "I remember seeing all the workers from Olives Paper Mill lined up to watch and then there was a huge explosion. A few neighbours had panes of glass in their greenhouses cracked."

Bury Council greenspace projects manager Chris Wilkinson said: "We've been waiting for 30 years for some money to arrive to allow us to complete the trail so this vote is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

"Until recently much of the valley was in private ownership but, as part of residential developments at Kirklees Mill and the Olives Paper Mill, the land was transferred to the council. The Friends of Kirklees Valley was formed a year ago to decide what to do with the land and they made the completion of the Kirklees Trail their main ambition.

"The valley has got a lot going for it, with a lot of history and industrial remains. The part of the trail that already exists from the Bulls Head in Greenmount to Pickering Close in Tottington is very well used by walkers and cyclists. If it were extended to Bury it could be used by commuters."

The number for voting for Connect2 will be advertised on the council's website, after December 7.