The illustrator and hero of the Lighthouse Keeper series of children’s books have joined the campaign for the repainting of the red and white stripes at Beachy Head.
Mr Grinling, the ever-hungry hero of the series, and David Armitage, who illustrates his wife Ronda’s books, say it is essential the iconic stripes are repainted.
“It can never be the same without the stripes,” said Mr Grinling, who looked after the lighthouse for many years with the help of his wife and their marmalade cat, Hamish.
The magical world of Mr Grinling was created with the publication of The Lighthouse Keeper’s Lunch in 1977 and Mr Grinling came into existence by chance when David and Ronda were walking on the Downs with their children, Joss then four and Kate aged two.
At that time, a thick electricity cable ran from the top of Beachy Head to the lighthouse, which was then manned. When Joss asked what the cable was for, David told him it was for sending down the lighthouse keeper’s lunch.
David said his family was delighted to support the campaign to repaint the stripes.
An appeal was launched last year after Trinity House, which owns the building, said that because boat owners now rely on satellite navigation systems as opposed to the lighthouse, it was unable to justify the cost of repainting it and it should return to its natural granite grey colour.
Since then campaigners have almost raised the £27,000 needed to pay for the repainting job and hope it will be given a facelift during the spring tides next year.
To coincide with the anniversary of the campaign, an exhibition of David Armitage’s Art, including children’s illustrations, is showing in the Under Ground Theatre on Fridays and Saturdays between 10am-4pm until November 10 and will be signing copies of the books.