On Wednesday 30th July, RNLI Lifeboats from Eastbourne, Hastings and Newhaven joined forces with East Sussex Fire & Rescue to tackle an enormous fire that threatened to destroy Eastbourne’s historic pier.
Both the town’s lifeboats assisted with an evacuation after fire was discovered in the amusement hall. The inshore boat then ferried pumps and firemen to the All Weather Lifeboat, where they set up station at the seaward end. A high tide meant the lifeboats could tackle the blaze at close quarters – and happily, before the ebb forced them to retire, the bulk of the structure was saved.
It remains, however, a particularly sad incident because, despite its reputation as a refuge for the elderly, Eastbourne is actually one of the coolest places in Britain. It has a huge, modern marina, easy-access roads, plentiful parking, cheap hotels, endless promenades and spectacular walks on Beachy Head. It also has a truly amazing bandstand (Toploader played there not so long ago) and its calendar of events is virtually unmatched...
In addition to the annual tennis tournament and the ‘Eastbourne Extreme’ watersports festival, it also hosts ‘Airbourne’ – a massive international air show that runs on the seafront over a four-day weekend. View it from the beach (or better still, from your own boat) and you will understand why it’s been voted the UK’s best free event twice in a row.
And if you’re still not convinced then consider this: the Guinness World Record for firewalking was broken here; Brighton Rock and Harry Potter were both filmed on these streets; it boasts one of world’s top celebrity-owned hotels (John Malkovich’s Big Sleep); GMTV has named Eastbourne the UK’s sunniest town; and Virgin Travel has described it as “the UK’s most holiday-friendly destination”.
Now I don’t actually work for the Eastbourne Tourist Board – and I know David Cameron has already pledged £2m to help repair the pier. But as I write this, I’m doing my bit to help the town’s cause by investing in beer and mussels at Eastbourne’s infamous Belgian Café. I highly recommend you do the same.
Local interest news from around the UK coast - www.boats.com
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