SIGN up to support Bognor Regis Pier, residents have been urged.
The Observer is officially backing the Bognor Pier Trust’s campaign to gain the public backing needed to win the grants to provide a fitting future for the landmark.
Fundraising expert Jess Steele said the public had a key role to play.
Jess has been hired by the trust for her experience at unlocking the funding required to restore the pier.
She said: “Piers are complicated and challenging. It will take a lot of effort by the pier trust and support from the wider town.
“There are always things that can go wrong. But it is definitely possible and there are great rewards to knowing that a community asset like the pier is in good hands and safe for the future.
“My role is to encourage and advise, to help with early fundraising and set the trust on the way.”
Jess has built up a detailed understanding for piers through seven years as a voluntary director of the Hastings Pier and White Rock Trust.
Nick Stuart-Nicolson, the trust’s chairman, said anyone who cared about the town’s future should back the trust. That support was the only way to unlock the large sums of funding needed from various sources to restore the pier to its past glories.
“We need massive public support. We have to demonstrate to the Heritage Lottery Fund and other funding sources that we have widespread backing.
“We need more Friends of the trust to be able to do that. The more numbers we can show them, the better it will be,” he said.
“I would ask everyone to join us now. It will need millions of pounds to do major work to the pier. That’s money we haven’t got, but we can certainly get enough members to help us get it.”
The trust asked local artist Mike Jupp to devise an idea for the pier’s future.
His StarPointer Pier features a pavilion which contains a camera obscura and observatory, a north-facing cafeteria and south-facing lounge bars and a kiosk. The design is intended to stimulate debate about the trust’s aim to take the pier back into community ownership.
This will enable any further loss or damage to be avoided and eventual restoration work to take place to create a thriving and bustling attraction at the heart of the town.
But the situation in Bognor is much more favourable for the town’s pier than it was in Hastings.
It is maintained and benefits from investment from its owner, John Ayers, who is willing to work with the trust.