New pier owner Sheikh Abid Gulzar says he now wants the Eastbourne landmark blessed.
Mr Gulzar finally completed the deal to buy the iconic site last Friday morning, and has spent much of the last few days planning improvements.
Workmen have been on the site all week, while on Saturday more than 100 people attended an open surgery where he listened to locals and their various ideas.
Now he says he would like the pier to be officially blessed in the coming weeks.
“I think a blessing of Eastbourne pier before Christmas would be very apt and relevant for the town and indeed the wider community,” he said.
“I am a Muslim, my operations manager Manas is a Sikkh, and other members of staff are Christians - I want to emphasise the importance of diversity and accepting each other’s culture.
“We must all respect each other and we should all have the freedom to follow whatever religion one may wish to. But that doesn’t mean we cannot all come to together as one and join together.
“I would like the pier to be blessed with a clear message - to live together and act together. And that is what I would like to do in the next couple of weeks.
“I want to spread the message of love, of working together, of prosperity and the fact we all live in a democracy. We are all human beings and I want the blessing for the people of Eastbourne.”
Mr Gulzar said he was pleased with the turnout on Saturday when he met local people sharing their views and ideas.
He said he realises not everyone was able to attend but he would still like to hear from others, either by post to the Mansion Lions or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
He says he is very excited about the project but emphasises people cannot expect him to do everything they want in a matter of weeks and months.
“There has been talk of this and talk of that but it all costs money and I must decide where best to invest,” said Mr Gulzar.
“There is so much we will be doing to make the pier great. People will definitely see a big difference in the next four to six months.”
Mr Gulzar is hosting a charity breakfast on Friday (November 6) at the Mansion Lions when he will be talking about the pier. It has been arranged in association with Eastbourne AM Rotary Club and is raising funds for SASBAH.
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