Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Revamp for Beachy Head lighthouse

Paint and equipment is brought by boat to Beachy Head Lighthouse near Eastbourne

Work has got under way to repaint the striking red and white stripes on a landmark lighthouse in East Sussex.

In a campaign backed by Eddie Izzard, John Craven and Bill Bryson, more than £27,000 was raised to pay for the revamp of the Beachy Head lighthouse in Eastbourne, which has begun after being delayed by poor weather earlier this week.

The fundraising campaign was launched after Trinity House, which oversees navigational aids around parts of Britain's coastline, said the lighthouse was no longer needed as a daymark, the reason for its eye-catching appearance.

Its distinctive stripes were to be left to fade to its natural granite grey colour because of the cost of repainting it, but locals stepped in to raise the money needed to give it a fresh look.

Campaign co-ordinator Shirley Moth said: ''We have been thrilled by the support the campaign has received. Once we started it, we realised how many people have great affection for the lighthouse.

''It's a part of Sussex, and in the end we received support from all over the world, including donations from America and Canada."

The lighthouse has sat more than 500ft below the summit of the infamous chalk cliffs of Beachy Head since being brought into service in 1902.

Designed under the direction of Sir Thomas Matthews, the then engineer-in-chief of Trinity House, it is made of 3,660 tonnes of fine Cornish granite.

It was automated and de-manned in June 1983 and is monitored remotely 24 hours a day by Trinity House's operations and planning centre at Harwich, Essex.

Trinity House has previously defended the decision not to repaint the lighthouse, saying it had a duty to ensure all its expenditure was justified.

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