THIS dramatic photograph of a disappearing Bognor Regis pier shows why its restoration is so important.
Seafront resident Joyce Fielding took the shot in the winter of 1999 when the structure’s seaward end finally fell victim to the harsh conditions along the seafront.
She said: “I watched the pier go down that morning. It looked like an old dinosaur being brought down to its knees. That’s the best way I can describe it.
“I wondered why people were rushing down to the beach. They were picking things up because the tide was bringing pieces of wood and other debris from the pier.
“It was a very interesting morning but a very sad one.”
The pier’s current length is 350ft compared to the 1,000ft when its owner, the Bognor Pier Promenade Company, officially opened it on May 5, 1865.
The original length survived for a century but a stormy Wednesday night in March 1865 swept the sea-end pavilion away. The sea end had been severed from the main deck the previous autumn and this stopped the rest of the pier from being damaged.
But the seaward end proved vulnerable to further damage and it occurred 34 years later.
Mrs Fielding, 79, has lived in Mountbatten Court for about 23 years. She said the Bognor Pier Trust’s efforts to improve the pier, including restoring its length in the long term, should be welcomed.
“It must happen,” she said. “I couldn’t believe it when I heard the Waverley paddle steamer used to come to the end of the pier for cruises around the Isle of Wight.
“A pier has to be one of the main features of any seaside town. Everybody loves the pier.”
The trust is holding a coffee morning at 10.30am on Saturday in the town’s museum in West Street.
The aim is to raise funds for its work and to explain its intentions to potential supporters.
The trust is working towards submitting a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for the pier but it needs to show public support to have any chance of success,
Anybody who wants to become a Friend of the pier or find out more about the trust should go to www.bognorpiertrust.org.uk