THE Union flag was raised by the Isle of Wight's Lord Lieutenant, Major General Sir Martin White, to celebrate the £1million refurbishment of Yarmouth Pier yesterday (Monday).

The 18-month project was backed by the Heritage Lottery Fund, and the ongoing scheme involves the 'Pier's Tale' which will continue to engage with the local community and schools.

Belinda Walters, chair of Yarmouth Harbour Commissioners, welcomed guests who also included the Island's High Sheriff Gioia Minghella-Giddens.

The pier was built in 1876, and is the longest wooden in England.

Belinda said: "The pier is an integral part of the Yarmouth landscape and is a part of tourism and local life. Having it looking it in such good condition is really good to see."

Among the thanks were to the Heritage Lottery Fund, Mackay Engineers, the Pier's Tale Project involving Bournemouth University's research and underground footage of the development, the in-house team of Yarmouth Harbour, with Harbourmaster Tim Adams, and Sue Hawley, the Pier's Tale project manager.

Sue said: "It's been a fantastic journey and the work we have done will last for many years.

"We have used techniques which will mean that the next time it needs repairs, it will make it easier for the next set of engineers.

"The restoration has been used with Greenheart Wood, a tropical hardwood, which is the only wood strong enough and resistant to marine creatures like the Gribble Worm. It was all recycled from Queen Elizabeth Dock at Portsmouth Harbour.

"The next part of the project is to finish off the end of the pier head as a 'Roundhouse Discovery Centre'.

"We already have two rolling videos featuring a time lapse of the construction and underwater footage of the project. So there is still some work to complete."

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