Fancy walking to the lighthouse?

Annemarie Field and Martin Wellings on the lifeboat out at Beachy Head Lighthouse
Annemarie Field and Martin Wellings on the lifeboat out at Beachy Head Lighthouse

YOU COULD be one of the few people to walk around the Beachy Head Lighthouse in a charity event being organised by the campaign to save the lighthouse stripes.

The Lighthouse Challenge takes place during a low spring tide on Saturday, May 5 at 4pm and the entry fee of £6 for adults and £2.50 for under 18s will go towards the cost of repainting the iconic stripes as well as a donation to the Chestnut Tree Hospice for children.

It is being organised by the Rotary Club of Eastbourne AM in conjunction with the Eastbourne Herald and the Keep the Stripes Facebook campaign group, which joined forces to raise more than £25,000 to repaint the red and white stripes after owners Trinity House said last year it could not afford to and the light tower should return to its natural granite grey.

Already more than £3,000 has been raised, Crown Paints, together with Brewers of Eastbourne, has donated the paint and local businesses have agreed to provide their services at cost price.

And, in addition Eastbourne Borough Council this week announced it was giving £10,000 to the campaign and further details will be revealed in the Herald next week.

The lighthouse is in desperate need of repainting and campaigners are hoping to apply for grants to boost the coffers and reach the target so the refurbishment can begin.

In the meantime various events are being planned with schools and organisations to raise money including next month’s Lighthouse Challenge, which starts at 4pm with people meeting at the kiosk at the foot of the Downs by St Bede’s School.

The walk will be across the Downs to Cow Gap which takes approximately 15-20 minutes, down the steps to the beach and over the rocks, boulders, sand and slippery seaweed to the lighthouse.

Organiser Martin Wellings said, “Apart from the downland stretch this challenge is not suitable for running and all but a very few patches should be negotiated very carefully.

“To take part in this event people need to be reasonably fit for a mixture of running, walking and clambering.

“The event is timed to allow maximum time to circumnavigate the lighthouse. Low water is at 5.41pm and sunset is at 8pm.

For safety and to be sure everyone is properly accounted for, people will be given a number which they will have to show at five checkpoints.

First aid will be available, the coastguard and RNLI are aware of the event in the unlikely event of somebody having difficulty in getting back to Cow Gap before the tide comes in and people must check back in at the kiosk after the challenge to ensure no-one is left on the beach when the tide turns.”

Entry forms are available at the Herald offices in Lismore Road, PST Travel in Grove Road or the Arlington Road Surgery and can be handed in to any of the those three venues.

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