Blaze damaged pier gets set to open Saturday

Work starts to clear and repair Eastbourne Pier following July's devastating fire SUS-140814-161428001
Work starts to clear and repair Eastbourne Pier following July's devastating fire SUS-140814-161428001

Eastbourne Pier will re-open this weekend.

The iconic seafront structure – a third of which was damaged in a fire on Wednesday July 30 – will open on the morning of Saturday September 27.

The opening comes less than two months after a blaze in the Blue Room amusement arcade.

Some parts of the structure will be open including the shops, cafe, fishing platform and Atlantis nightclub.

Special walkways have now been constructed from the front of the pier and visitors will be able to access the two thirds of the pier that were not destroyed.

Traders are set to begin moving back into their shops and a special family fun day is planned for the Saturday.

Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd said, “I am delighted that our beloved pier is partially opening so soon after the devastating fire.

“Credit must go to the dedicated team at the pier which has worked so hard to re-open so quickly in such difficult circumstances.

“Despite the tragedy, I know everyone will be thrilled to see the pier re-open and whilst there is still work to do, I look forward to seeing everyone on Saturday where I know the pier owners have a full day of fun planned for the whole family.”

The news that the pier was re-opening coincided with the funeral of workman Stephen Penrice in Cumbria who fell to his death while rebuilding took place.

His funeral was held on Thursday and more than 400 mourners packed into All Souls Church in Netherton.

Mr Penrice, 44, was working on the fire-damaged pier for Maryport civil engineering firm MP Marine, based at Marine Road, at the time of the incident on August 19.

Colleagues, friends and members of Netherhall Rugby Club joined his family at the service.

Known as Penny, he grew up in Crosby and Crosby Villa.

The service was led by the Rev Mary Day, of Crosscanonby parish who said, “He was one of the good guys and life will not be the same without him. He had a sunny disposition that will always come to mind when we remember him. Penny, you made an impression and a difference to us all.”

Mr Penrice played for Netherhall Rugby Club. School friend Darren Nesbitt told the congregation, “He had a big head, big mouth, big teeth, a big grin and a very big heart. He would be there for you – quietly and without fuss – and he never asked a favour in return.”