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Lighthouse’s famed red and white stripes repainted

It will take workers 300 litres of paint to cover the 85ft tower of Happisburgh Lighthouse in Norfolk.

A lighthouse is having its fading red and white hoops repainted as part of a once-a-decade project.

Happisburgh Lighthouse in north Norfolk opened in 1791 and became independent almost 30 years ago when locals saved it from closure.

Its 85ft tower, last painted in 2009, will be covered with 300 litres of paint over the next fortnight by a specialist team working in a cradle for the majority of the lighthouse, and on a harness for the highest section.

The four craftsmen will paint a strip at a time, starting at the top and working downwards, with three layers to go on.

Stephen Burke, vice chairman of Friends of Happisburgh Lighthouse, said it was the UK’s only independently run lighthouse and the oldest working light in East Anglia.

He said the lighthouse needed to be repainted about once per decade.

“It’s really important to maintain it given the weather we have here,” he said. “The lighthouse is exposed to all sorts of weathers, wind, rain, snow and everything else, so it does deteriorate and it’s important we maintain it for looking good and guiding shipping but also for visitors who come to north Norfolk especially to see it.”

He continued: “It’s a real icon of north Norfolk, it’s a symbol of where we live and it really attracts visitors to north Norfolk.

“The last open day we had here we had 700 visitors so it really is important to our local economy.”

The lighthouse’s lantern is automated.

While many mariners may no longer rely on it, Mr Burke pointed out the risks of the sea and said it could still be of help.

“We did have a yacht shipwrecked off the coast here a couple of years ago,” he said. “There are lots of sandbanks off this coast.

“Most boats and most ships have proper navigation tools these days but the red and white bands are very distinctive and at least it lets shipping know where they are off the east coast.”

The £20,000 cost of employing the specialist painting team from North Yorkshire was raised by Friends of Happisburgh Lighthouse, which puts on 15 open days per year.

Volunteer staff guide paying visitors to the top and talk about the history of the lighthouse and its future.

The paint for the job was donated by paint firm Sandtex.

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