I am Eastbourne resident who has lived here all my life and like everyone else I was devastated and saddened to see the pier go up in flames. It had a special memory for me as it was at the age of 15 in 1963 I started my first job on the pier during my summer holidays before doing my last year in school.
I had only been working about three hours clearing tables of crockery for a large sit down meal in what was then the main dance hall, (now the part that has gone up in flames). I was walking carrying a fully laden tray of crockery, knives and forks when a gentleman stood up suddenly in front of me and his shoulder caught the tray and it went flying, the noise was horrendous and I wished the cracks in the flooring would open up and swallow me.
The manageress Mrs Boswell came over and I was fired on the spot, until the gentleman explained it was not my fault but his for not looking as I was so quite he did not realise I was there. Luckily his explanation allowed me to keep my job, and over the five weeks I worked for the pier I earned a grand sum of £25. May I respectfully suggest that the Airbourne collection be split three ways, one third to keep it running, one third for the charity, and one third to go into a fund to help the staff and shopkeepers on the pier in some fund to help them out until such times as the pier is rebuilt. With all the national media and international media publicity I believe that by splitting it three ways, more people would be inclined to dig deep into their pockets and more money would be raised. If this was announced over the tannoy system during Airbourne and those owners who operated on the pier could have stalls close to the pier to try and make a living during Airbourne to help compensate some of what they have lost, as we know many could not get insurance due to insurance companies not prepared to take the risks on.