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The UK government has approved a new bridge over the Thames – The Garden Bridge, designed for pedestrians, not cars. Along with the government’s £30 million contribution towards it, this is the latest achievement in turning actor Joanna Lumley's dream of a green bridge over the Thames into a reality.

Lumley originally suggested the bridge following the death of Princess Diana 16 years ago, however a fountain memorial was chosen instead. But when Transport for London invited proposals for a pedestrian bridge in 2012, life was breathed back into her idea.

Lumley’s inspiration came from her days as a child living in Kuala Lumpur. “My sister and I got up very early the first morning and the gardens were surrounded with extremely thick white clouds,” she told London Evening Standard. “There were roses, cabbages, runner beans with great scarlet flowers, tangles of onions, tall things growing – an island of tropical plants floating in the air. I was seven and it had the most enormous impact of anything in my childhood.”

Still fundraising for the £150-million structure that will link Covent Garden and the South Bank, “a wonderful stretch where nobody walks,” she hopes Garden Bridge will make the northern embankment a more vibrant area. Lumley says construction should begin in 2015, finish in 2017 and the bridge should open in spring 2018.

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