I just wanted to reflect on what a very, very busy year 2016 has been for Eastbourne Pier.
When I bought the landmark back in October 2015 I knew that it was going to be a major challenge. But I love challenges. I have lived in this country for 51 years and most of what I have achieved business-wise has been a challenge and enjoyable.
I love Eastbourne Pier and it gives me great pleasure. I am on there seven days a week – sometimes four times a day – working and talking to our customers. Many are tourists, and many are locals.
When I took over the pier I said that I would work very hard to improve it, and that, I hope, is very evident to everyone.
It was in a very sorry state after the fire and needed extensive improvements, as well as some love and affection, and that is what my team has been working so very hard on ever since it became mine.
Well, when I say mine I actually mean the town’s – because that is how I see the pier. Everything I am doing is for the good of Eastbourne.Our priority was always to clean up the site, get rid of the many tonnes of rubbish and make it a welcoming place to visit. I think we have done that.
We also wanted to include new attractions, such as amusements and the new jazz bar. I think we have done that.
We wanted to introduce more people to our existing shops, including the wonderful Victorian Tea Rooms. I think we have done that.
In fact, I am proud to say we have done a huge amount to improve Eastbourne Pier.
We have also generated national publicity for the pier – full page features in the Sunday nationals, some of the dailies as well, and even The Jeremy Vine Show on Radio 2!
There have been a few who objected but I firmly believe that what we have done is for the greater good in this town.
What next? Well, there is plenty more to be done in 2017 and a new year brings new hope and, of course, new challenges.
I continue to enjoy waking up in the morning, looking out of my window and seeing that glorious pier. Long may it continue, and long may it be there for the people of Eastbourne – and indeed further afield – to cherish and enjoy.
SHEIKH ABID GULZAR
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