Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Pier scoops national award!

Saltburn's Victorian pier was today hailed the best in Britain. The pier - the last remaining pleasure pier on the North-East coast - beat resorts including Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight and Bangor in North Wales to scoop the Pier of the Year title.

It was runner-up in 2006 in the National Piers Society awards, and it has regularly featured in the top four from votes cast by the organisation's 600 members. This award comes hot on the heels of other successes including an award for the illuminations which light up the pier and cliff lift from dusk to midnight.
Friends of Saltburn Pier chairman Tony Lynn said: "A lot of work has been done towards saving the pier. It is something very dear to the heart of Saltburn people. It is so much part of Saltburn and we are so pleased to be recognised by the National Pier Society. They held their AGM here just after Saltburn Pier had been restored and the members were very impressed with what they saw."
The pier won the award due to its impressive design and unique features - simpilcity and quality restoration. An important feature is the lighting on the underside of the pier which reflects on to the waves and sand offering a unique experience for many people.
The pier itself has been plagued by misfortune since its opening in 1869 - incidents include the pier-end collapsing into the sea, a ship crashing through it in a storm and a section being removed to prevent German landings during World War Two, all of which gradually caused the length of the pier to diminish.

Norman Bainbridge - Saltburn's 'Mr Pier'
Norman Bainbridge, who died at the age of 83 in December 2005, was born and brought up in Saltburn and was the driving force behind the 'Friends of Saltburn Pier'. Ten years ago the future of the pier was under threat after it became apparent that it was in urgent need of reconstruction. When a bid for funding to restore it failed Norman, as founder member and chairman of the society, led a group of fellow enthusiasts to press for Government help as well as raising funds themselves.. He also worked closely with Redcar and Cleveland Council to lead the fight for survival and did much to help it win a £995,000 lottery grant to carry out the work that was needed to restore the pier.
Norman was very proud when the pier finally reopened to the public in July 2001 and was upgraded to a Grade 2* listed building. He was also proud when the pier lighting scheme was installed as the Friends had long pressed for this facility.
Five years later it won the annual Lighting Design Award for Transport Lighting following work under Redcar and Cleveland Council's Lighting Our Culture initiative. Norman was given the honour of switching on the lighting feature that illuminates the Pier, the Cliff Lift and the lower promenade.

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