Southend Pier reopens to the public
Southend Pier will re-open to the public TODAY following the completion of essential repairs.
The Pier has been closed since Tuesday 6th September when a contractor’s barge was forced under the structure in high winds and a heavy swell, damaging pilings and a stretch of walkway.
But now the temporary repairs needed to make the iconic landmark accessible to residents and visitors have been finished a fantastic fun-packed weekend awaits.
A visit by the paddle-steamer Waverley tomorrow (http://www.thebestof.co.uk/local/southend/events/321209/waverley---thames-forts-at-southend-pier) coincides with the start of a two-day busking festival which will see a host of local musicians performing over the weekend.
And to cap it all off the Pier has been granted the National Visitor Attraction Quality Assurance Scheme (VAQAS) Award for the second year running.
This earns it a prestigious place on the Enjoy England website as a quality attraction and allows it to display the organisation’s English rose on Pier literature.
The Pier will be open to the public from 8.15am and the train will be running to the Pier Head as usual.
The busking festival takes place from 12 noon until 4pm on Saturday and Sunday featuring artists such as Lewis Floyd Henry, Breakneck Static, Ethereal Fire, Silbury Hill, The Isinglass Affair, Steve Pilley, Tim Sully and The Lamps.
Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s Executive Councillor for Culture and Tourism, Councillor Derek Jarvis, said: “We are thrilled to receive the VAQAS award again and to be able to announce it on the weekend that the Pier opens to visitors again.
“While there will be some restrictions to the walkway access the pier train will be operating as normal.
“We have introduced a special fare for the reopening with return trips on the train costing £2 for adults and £1 for concessions.
“For those wishing to walk a full mile of the walkway will still be available, again offered at a special rate of £1”.
The full repairs to the Pier will involve a second phase of works which are currently estimated to take between four and six weeks.
These are scheduled to take place later in the autumn, but the public will continue to have safe access to the pier while they are carried out.
The fun will continue during the autumn when the Pier Ghost Train will undertake its creepy journeys from 6.30pm on Saturday 22nd October, Saturday 29th October and Saturday 5th November.
There will be a scary ride to the Pier Head where resident Pier witch and storyteller Georgina will relate spine-chilling tales.
Hot food and drink will be on sale at the Pier Head, which offers an unrivalled vantage point for watching the seafront fireworks.
This year, for the first time, budding writers from across the town are being invited to submit their own ghost stories for a special competition.
Inspired by the recent filiming of Eastenders, stories entered for this contest must involve a character from the BBC soap who has either passed away or been murdered.
Tales must be no more than three minutes long and should be suitable for all ages.
The competition winner will be invited to read out their story at each Pier Ghost Train event. Or, if they prefer, Pier witch Georgina will do this for them instead.
Send your story, with your name, age, address and contact telephone number, to the Visitor Information Centre at Southend Pier.
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