Save the Stripes campaign

Beachy Head Lighthouse pictures from Mark Jarvis

Beachy Head Lighthouse pictures from Mark Jarvis

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With the repainting of the Beachy Head Lighthouse less than a month away, it has been revealed a local firm has won the contract to carry out the facelift at the iconic landmark.

Sussex Blast Cleaning, based on the Station Road Industrial Estate in Hailsham, beat off competition from other contractors and was the successful bidder for the repainting project which will take around three weeks and starts on September 17.

A team of specialists will live on the lighthouse temporarily and after initial cleaning work to the outside of the structure, will begin repainting the red and white stripes.

The start of the work marks the end of a two year campaign by locals who launched a fundraising appeal in October 2011 when lighthouse owners Trinity House revealed it could not justify the cost of repainting it and instead wanted to allow it to return to its natural granite grey colour.

The Save the Stripes group, the Eastbourne Herald and Eastbourne Rotary AM got together and various fundraising events and collections were held.

Comedian Eddie Izzard pledged to match pound for pound donations up to £2,000 and other celebrities lent their support to the campaign.

Over a year-long period, the £27,000 was donated by members of the community, local businesses, celebrities, the local council and voluntary organisations and the paint was donated in a deal set up by Brewers of Eastbourne with Crown Hempel Paint.

Earlier this year, campaigners handed over the money to Trinity House officials during a tour of the lighthouse and the paint will soon be delivered locally.

Sussex Blast Cleaning is no stranger to restoration projects.

The firm, headed by managing director Martin Griffin, won the contract to restore the Cutty Sark after it was damaged by fire in May 2007.

That project lasted more than four years and involved working on different sections of the ship.

The main body of the ship was completed in 2010 and Martin was at the re-opening of the Cutty Sark in April 2012 by Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Philip.

He said, “The Cutty Sark was a project the company was proud to undertake and a lasting icon that has given the staff great pride and satisfaction.

“That project certainly saw the business move forward in both status and reputation.”

It also led to the company being invited to work on HMS Warrior and HMS Belfast.

Martin said he was delighted with the news Sussex Blast Cleaning had been successful.

And campaigner Shirley Moth said, “Sussex Blast Cleaning is a local firm which will be carrying out the repainting and we are so pleased.

“This has been a real community effort from everyone who donated cash to those who took part in the Lighthouse Challenge Walk to raise money for the appeal.

“It just shows what can be done when the community works together. Our lighthouse will be looking at its best again very soon.”