Beachy Head lighthouse repainting 'finishing touches'

Beachy Head repainting
Image caption Beachy Head lighthouse towers 148ft from the foot of white cliffs in the South Downs National Park

The repainting of Beachy Head lighthouse off East Sussex is almost complete, following a campaign to raise the £27,000 needed for the work.

Martin Griffin, whose company is overseeing the project, said: "All we have got to do is the handrail and some general touching up."

A team of five people has spent about three weeks painting the 148ft south coast landmark.

Eddie Izzard and John Craven were among the celebrities who helped raise funds.

The campaign to raise enough money for the repainting was launched after Trinity House, which overseas navigation aids around parts of the coast, said the lighthouse was no longer needed.

The red and white stripes were left to fade because of the cost of repainting the lighthouse.

The team of workmen, including two abseilers, applied five coats of paint to the copper lantern at the top and three on each hoop of the tower.

Image caption Abseilers' work started by painting at the top of the tower and working down
Image caption Several coats were applied to the lighthouse, which had been allowed to fade
Image caption "All we have got to do is the handrail and some general touching up," said project leader Martin Griffin

Sussex Blast Cleaning had previously worked on the Cutty Sark and HMS Belfast in London and HMS Warrior in Portsmouth, as well as other industrial and renovation projects.

Mr Griffin, the managing director of the company, said: "We have done it in just under three weeks. We lost four days due to some bad weather, but we have worked quickly using sprays, rollers and brushes.

"It looks absolutely brilliant now, particularly with the sun shining on it."

Residents were joined by celebrities such as Eddie Izzard, John Craven and Bill Bryson to raise the money needed for the facelift.

Shirley Moth, the campaign manager, said; "They have done such a brilliant job, and we are all so proud.

"Once you start a campaign like this, you realise how many other people feel the same."

The Beachy Head lighthouse was brought into service in 1902 to replace the Belle Toute on the cliff top nearby.

The decision to stop painting it red and white was made because ships nowadays use electronic rather than visual navigation.

Trinity House defended not repainted the lighthouse, saying it had a duty to ensure all its expenditure was justified.

Ms Moth said: "It is beyond our expectations. It just looks so bright, and you realise how much it had faded."

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Media captionThe lighthouse's red and white strips have been repainted by a team of five

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