Friends of pier make progress

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A CHANCE for residents to show they are friends of Bognor Regis Pier is now available.

The fundraising group has published application forms for people to join them in securing the future of the historic structure.

The forms will soon be available in 
a wide range of 
outlets, including the Bognor Regis Observer office/visitor information point, on the Place St Maur.

They will also be handed out by Bognor Regis Pier Trust chairman Paul Wells during a special guest slot at the Sixties revival night at the Riverside Caravan Centre this Saturday.

Those who join will play a part in getting up to £5m of lottery funding for the pier and Picturedrome cinema.

Mr Wells, who is the town’s mayor, said: “We are asking the community to come forward with fundraising and other ideas on how we can help the pier.

“It could be anything – a run for the pier, a walk or coffee morning.”

He helped to set up the trust last year as a way of improving and restoring the pier which will reach its 150th anniversary in 2015.

The trust was buoyed by the decision of the Heritage Lottery Fund to proceed to make an initial application for up to millions of pounds of support.

The fund officials gave the trust a year to put together facts about how the pier can survive and thrive in the 21st century.

“It’s not going to be an overnight process,” said Mr Wells. “It’s going to take time. We are building up the momentum.

“We have come forward a long way since last summer behind the scenes.”

The trust has enlisted pier experts to compile the most convincing case possible for lottery funding.

Fellow trustee Jan Malpas said: “We want Bognor to become the people’s pier. If each club in the town held just one event for us, it would quickly raise money and spread the word.”

Nick Stuart-Nicolson, another trustee, said: “We need the help of everyone living in Bognor, together with visitors both old and new, who have enjoyed visiting and staying here and will recognise the pier’s signficance.”

The trust is working with town council, through a joint board, to get the lottery funding.