Leeds benches highlight our affairs of the heart

LOVE LIGHTS: Leeds BID's Jane Coughlin and Joe Lawson try out one of the light benches installed in Victoria Gardens.
LOVE LIGHTS: Leeds BID's Jane Coughlin and Joe Lawson try out one of the light benches installed in Victoria Gardens.
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Leeds will be lighting up red today to mark the most romantic day of the year and to show off a new installation which is the first of its kind outside of the capital.

Five ‘light benches’ have been installed permanently in Victoria Gardens near the Town Hall after making a first appearance in the city centre as part of Light Night Leeds last Autumn.

They have been created by German artists Lichtbankobjekte with the aim of breaking down social awkwardness and are made using glass light beams connected by wi-fi.

They can change colour every two and a half minutes and will be switched on daily from sunset to sunrise.

The benches have been brought to the city by LeedsBID who say the installation is “part of its work in animating public places and spaces in Leeds city centre for people who come to live, work and play here.”

Meanwhile, matters of the heart have also come to light over at the University of Leeds Institute of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Medicine.

Research scientist Fraser Macrae spotted a cell being compressed, by chance, into the shape of a heart as it became trapped in the fibres of a blood clot while he was conducting an experiment.

The image, highlighted in red, shows it magnified by 5000 times.

He said: “You can see structures that measure just a millionth of a millimetre. I am used to seeing amazing things but I was absolutely staggered when I saw this heart-shaped blood cell.

“On Valentine’s Day, it seems to be a fitting symbol to the complex ways of the heart.”

He is the current winner of the British Heart Foundation’s ‘Reflections of Research’ photography competition.