Clacton Pier has been crowned Pier of the Year in what its director called a “perfect morale booster” at a difficult time.
The attraction reopened to the public on July 4 as lockdown measures were eased, having been closed since late March.
It was today named as pier of the year by the National Piers Society, pipping second-placed Clevedon Pier and third-placed Brighton Palace Pier.
The society said the award recognised a decade of improvements made by Clacton Pier’s owners, brothers Billy and Elliot Ball.
Billy said: “We were delighted to come runner-up last year and to go one better this year really is the icing on the cake.
“This has been an incredibly difficult time for all 61 piers around the country and to pick up the award is the perfect morale booster for us.
“We are truly grateful to all those who voted for us and thank them for their faith in us.
“To top the list ahead of such great attractions as Brighton’s Palace Pier is a real accolade and will spur us on to even greater things.”
Clacton Pier opened in 1871 and was lengthened to 1,180ft in 1893 with the addition of a theatre and pavilion.
The National Piers Society said it is the largest pleasure pier in Europe by surface area, covering 6.5 acres.
When the brothers bought the pier in 2009, just two of those acres were in use.
It now boasts many rides including a helter-skelter and two-tier adventure golf course, with a new rollercoaster and log flume due to be added.
Tim Wardley, chairman of the National Piers Society, said: “Seaside piers have long been prime generators of inward investment to the resorts they serve and are the beating hearts of seaside communities.
“The millions of pounds invested in Clacton Pier by Billy and Elliot are a demonstration of their commitment to both the tourist industry and their home town.
“I wish them every success as they continue to work hard to bring an all-weather, year-round attraction to Clacton.”
Source/credit – Clacton & Frinton Gazette July 2020.