ALMOST unbelievably it’s 39 years old this year and perish the thought what we’d do without it now.

Because on April 20, 1985, Councillor Ron Carrington, the man who had championed the cause most, hopped on a double decker bus with a load of other worthies and was driven along Worcester’s new Southern Link road, the first vehicle to make a journey today made by thousands.

The idea to create a southern by-pass for Worcester had been kicking about for decades until work was finally started in the early 1980s.

One of the problems had been the cost of creating a raised road across the flood meadows of two rivers, the Severn and the Teme, which included the site of the 1651 Battle of Worcester, and then there was the building of the bridge itself.

The project was completed in 1984 and then there was the matter of naming the new bridge until then known simply as "the new bridge". Eventually the decision was taken to name it after Cllr Carrington, the county councillor who had been its staunchest supporter.

He was chairman of the then-joint Hereford-Worcester County Council between 1989 and 1993 and played an important role in the planning, design and construction of the bridge. The decision was made by the council's executive committee but not without some alternatives being offered.

Cllr Tom Wells wanted it called Battlefield Bridge to mark its Civil War connection but Cllr Derek Prodger maintained it was "entirely appropriate" to name the bridge after the man behind it as there was a long tradition of naming streets and locations after well-known local people. And so it came to pass.

The southern link gets a mention in the April month of Worcester’s History and Heritage Calendar and here are a few more.

April 2, 1967: Jimi Hendrix played Worcester Gaumont. One I invariably bring out because I was there and I interviewed him. Great moment. In those days the local press, which was usually me, were allowed backstage in the interval to chat with any of the acts who were up for it which was usually most because they were after publicity. Headlining the bill was Englebert Humperdinck and also appearing were the Walker Brothers, also good to talk to, and Cat Stevens. I knocked on Hendrix’s dressing room door not knowing quite what to expect considering his stage act. He was sat on the room’s dressing table and was quiet, almost apologetic. A genuine icon but maybe it’s a good thing he never got to grow old.

April 7, 1606: Blessed Edward Oldcorne, a Jesuit priest was hung, drawn and quartered at Red Hill. Many in Worcester went to 'Blesseds'. The secondary Catholic school in Battenhall is one of the city's biggest secondaries and this April will be 418 years since its namesake’s execution and martyrdom at Redhill. Born in York, 1561, Edward Oldcorne originally trained to became a doctor but in 1581 he travelled to France and became a Catholic priest.

His mission back to England had him work out of Hindlip Hall for many years until in 1606, following the failed Gunpowder Plot, Catholic persecution had Edward Oldcorne and the other Jesuit priests at the hall arrested by the Sheriff of Worcester. It was hereafter he was tortured for any information on the gunpowder plotters before being sentenced to death for high treason. He was hung, drawn and quartered on Redhill, now less than a mile away from his namesake school.

April 15,1950: Worcestershire Regiment was granted the Freedom of the City of Worcester. The day was described in the regimental magazine FIRM as the ‘greatest day in the history of the old regiment’. Similar descriptions were made by councillors, veterans, citizens and the Berrow’s Journal too.

The regiment returned to Britain on March 29, 1950, after five years serving in Germany after the Second World War. The council wanted to thank its county regiment for all its hard work in bringing about victory in 1945 and over 200 years of being linked to Worcester. The mayor Alderman TS Bennett echoed the words: 'Put on record forever, it’s thanks to those generations of men from city and county and beyond, who have fought and often died for Britain’. The new incoming colonel of the regiment Lieut-General RN Gale, who had initially joined the regiment in 1915 and served in both the 1st and 3rd Battalions, also gave a speech saying: “We, on our part, have carried the county name with honour and in the field of arms contributed to its greatness.’”

The day began on the beautifully-manicured County Cricket Ground in New Road with the presentation of four specially-made silver drums. The ceremony also included a mayoral inspection, the colour parties of the 1st, 2nd and 7th Battalions and rousing speeches. The mayor quoted what General Sir Ivor Thomas of the 43rd Division said of their conduct in NW Europe - ‘The (1st) Battalion never had a failure'. The mayor added that the drums would act “as a reminder of the debt we owe but can never fully repay to this most gallant regiment”.

April 28, 1828: Edward Leader Williams was born. Sir Edward was the brother of notable landscape painter Benjamin Williams Leader. He was educated at Worcester Royal Grammar School and became an engineer under his father. Sir Edward's notability came from his work as the chief engineer during the construction of the Manchester Ship Canal. At the time of its opening in 1894 the canal was the largest river navigation canal in the world at 36 miles long and made Manchester Britain's third busiest port. Sir Edward was knighted shortly afterwards and the canal is still in use today.

April 30, 1938: Australian legend cricket Don Bradman played his third match at New Road, Worcester. And what a match it was. The Don scored 258 out of the tourists' total of 541, beating his 236 in 1930 and 206 in 1934. The Aussies won by an innings and 77 runs, Worcestershire being dismissed for 268 and 196. During the Australian innings Worcestershire fast bowler Reg Perks went for 147 runs in 34 overs although he did take four wickets. Interestingly in the Worcestershire side were wicketkeeper Syd Buller, who went on to become a Test match umpire, and Harold 'Doc' Gibbons who became an advertising executive on this newspaper. Bradman made his final appearance at New Road on April 28, 1948, making only 107 (!) as the visitors won by an innings and 17 runs.