A prized possession

South Africa - Cape Town - 9 July 2019 - Milnerton's iconic Woodbridge Island bridge is set for a R20 million makeover. The 117-year-old wooden bridge linking Milnerton to Woodbridge Island was the only bridge of its kind in South Africa. It is a provincial Heritage Site. The process of restoring the 120m-long bridge would involve dismantling and rebuilding it, with some of repair work taking place under the water. Original wood that is in good condition will be reused, with the rest replaced with quality, durable timber chosen specifically to minimise the cost of future maintenance. Once completed, the restored bridge will provide a fully functional non-motorised transport link between Woodbridge Island and the existing cycling and walking lane facilities that run along Marine Drive. The bridge was built in 1901 during the South African War by the Fortress Company of the Royal Engineers in order to gain military access to the island. Picture/Video Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA)

A Milnerton man has turned the remnants of Milnerton’s old wooden bridge into trophies for local sports clubs.

After retiring from property development 10 years ago, Simon Bezuidenhout started taking his hobby of restoring furniture more seriously.

Working from his garage at home he restores all kinds of furniture but mostly chairs and tables, he says.

After reading an article last year about plans to restore the wooden bridge at Woodbridge Island, Mr Bezuidenhout went to see if there was anything worth salvaging.

After having a word with the engineer, he left with “a bakkie load full” of the old jarrah wood.

Mr Bezuidenhout started making door stops with the wood and selling it.

“I got a great response, especially from people living on Woodbridge Island,” he said.

The positive response gave him the idea to make trophies for Milnerton’s golf and bowls clubs.

“I thought it would be nice to give something back to the community. The bridge is part of Milnerton’s heritage, so I thought I’d donate two trophies made of the wood to the clubs,” he said.

The golf club has women’s and men’s sections, and Mr Bezuidenhout made a trophy for each. The trophies have been kept as “raw” as possible with the old bolts found in the wood still attached.

Coated in varnish, each trophy also has a plaque on it which reads “Original Woodbridge Island bridge 1901”.

A vintage bowls ball has been screwed on top of the bowls trophy and a pair of old golf clubs adorns each of the golf trophies.

Mark Schacht, manager of the golf club, thanked Mr Bezuidenhout for “thinking out of the box”.

Mr Schacht said that while he had no use for the trophy at the moment, it would make a great floating trophy for future tournaments.