Repairs to save Needles lighthouse on Isle of Wight

Image caption,
The lighthouse was built in 1859 at a cost of £20,000

A £500,000 project to save one of the South's best known landmarks is under way on the Isle of Wight.

The Needles Lighthouse was built on chalk rock which has been eroded by years of rough seas.

A concrete ring is being built to support the 151-year-old lighthouse, which featured in the credits of the television show Howard's Way.

It is hoped the repairs will mean the lighthouse is safe from erosion for decades to come.

Civil engineer Ron Blakeley, from lighthouse authority Trinity House which is carrying out the work, said: "Eventually we would have lost the integrity of the foundation, but we were not at that stage.

"Excuse the pun, but it's a stitch in time, and I think we have timed it right."

Sean Crane, lighthouse attendant and boatman, said the 33m (109ft) structure was still as important now as it was when it was built for £20,000 in 1859.

"Nowadays they talk a lot about electronics, but there is nothing that a mariner likes better than to see a proper, hard light shining out," he said.

"It is just reassuring apart from anything else."

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