More than 500 people braved the pouring rain and high winds to witness the Bishop of Lewes officially bless Eastbourne Pier on Sunday (December 6).
The Bishop, the Right Reverend Richard Jackson, said he was delighted to have been invited to conduct the ceremony by the new pier owner Sheikh Abid Gulzar.
After carol singing and demonstrations from the Stix Drummers of Eastbourne, the Bishop gave a five-minute address to the audience.
Before conducting the blessing, the Bishop spoke about the pier’s importance as a community asset.
He also asked for Mr Gulzar and his team to use their resources and wisdom well in the coming months and years.
Mr Gulzar thanked the Bishop for attending, and then invited the audience to complimentary drinks and snacks in the Waterfront on the pier.
The occasion was recorded by the BBC, and Mr Gulzar said he was delighted by the turnout.
He said, “It was a fabulous occasion. The weather was absolutely terrible yet still the people of Eastbourne turned out to support me and my team, and I thank them very much for that.
“I did wonder if the weather may put people off – but it clearly didn’t. It was an occasion I will remember for a very long time, and it was such an honour to have the Bishop of Lewes present.
“It is important to bring people together from different cultures and to celebrate love and togetherness.
“The Bishop was right in what he said – we do have some big challenges with the pier in the coming weeks, months and years, and I am determined to make it a huge success.
“I think it is great that so many people are talking about the pier, and showing a genuine interest. Yes, there are a few who have been negative, but I believe the town is behind me.
“The blessing was another step forward in the future of Eastbourne Pier.”
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.
1) Make our website your homepage at www.eastbourneherald.co.uk/
2) Like our Facebook page at Text to display
3) Follow us on Twitter @Eastbournenews
4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!
The Eastbourne Herald - always the first with your local news.
Be part of it.