Image caption: BBC Coventry & Warwickshire’s Lorna Bailey and Pete Waterman celebrate the naming of Lady Godiva
Virgin Trains has named one of its trains after one of Coventry’s most famous historic icons in celebration of its UK City of Culture status in 2021.
The Lady Godiva Express was unveiled by Lorna Bailey, presenter of BBC Coventry & Warwickshire’s Saturday morning show, at a ceremony at London Euston in front of assembled guests including Coventry Lord Mayor, Councillor John Blundell, Pete Waterman and a group of young Coventry Ambassadors.
Pendolino 390039 also proudly adorns the city’s first official flag on each cab end. The flag was chosen as part of competition run by BBC Coventry & Warwickshire, to mark the first anniversary of Coventry being awarded the UK City of Culture title. It showcases two hugely important parts of the city’s history.
Front and centre is Lady Godiva, an iconic part of Coventry’s long history. Edging the flag is two blocks of sky blue, the colour which represents Coventry City Football Club.
The train departed London Euston at 10:43 bound for Edinburgh, with invited guests speaking to customers both at the station and onboard to promote all the city has to offer.
Amanda Hines, General Manager for the Virgin Trains in the West Midlands, said the train naming celebrated Virgin Trains’ role in serving Coventry: “Virgin Trains has been proud to serve Coventry for the past 21 years and it’s fitting that we are naming one of our trains after one of the city’s most famous daughters.
“We’re delighted to be flying the flag for Coventry. Lady Godiva will clock up over 300k miles in the next 12 months and be seen the length and breadth of the West Coast route from Liverpool to London, Birmingham to Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow, and of course Coventry.”
Gareth Roberts, editor of BBC Coventry & Warwickshire commented: “Last year in the build up to City of Culture we launched our Coventry flag competition as part of what is going to be a long-lasting legacy for the city. We’re very proud that this flag will take pride of place on the front of a Virgin Train’s Pendolino which will be seen by so many. This is just one of the many things we are doing to mark this special occasion and we are excited to show the rest of the UK what our city has to offer.”
The significance of Lady Godiva has been identified as one of the key drivers of the city’s plans to promote the city in the lead up to 2021.
Councillor Jim O’Boyle, Cabinet Member for jobs and regeneration at Coventry City Council said: “Lady Godiva is an iconic symbol for our city so it’s great to see a train that will be visible up and down the country named after her. I’d like to thank BBC Coventry & Warwickshire and Virgin Trains for organising and helping to promote Coventry.”