Eastbourne Pier fall workman named as Stephen Penrice

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Media captionStephen Penrice had worked on the pier for a number of years

A man who died in a fall from the fire-damaged Eastbourne Pier has been named as Stephen Penrice, from Cumbria.

The 44-year-old from Sandylonning, Netherton, who was working on the pier, was pronounced dead at the scene after falling on to the beach on Tuesday.

MP Stephen Lloyd said the thoughts of everyone in the town and beyond were with his family and friends.

The incident is being investigated jointly by Sussex Police and the Health and Safety Executive.

The emergency services were called to the pier just before 16:00 BST to reports a man had received serious head injuries in a fall.

Image caption Paramedics tended to the man on the beach after his fall from the pier

Mr Lloyd, the town's MP, said Mr Penrice had worked on the pier for about seven years as part of constant remedial work carried out by the pier owners, Cuerden Leisure.

"This means he knew Eastbourne well. I am sure the many friends he had locally are utterly distraught over the appalling accident.

"I will be meeting his work colleagues as soon as humanely possible to express the town's sorrow at the death of their friend," he said.

A spokeswoman for Cuerden Leisure said: "This is a terrible tragedy and we are working with the police to establish exactly what happened.

"Our thoughts are with the family and colleagues at this time."

Mr Lloyd said a few minutes' silence was held in respect of Mr Penrice's memory at Wednesday morning's meeting of the Eastbourne Pier Action Committee.

Image caption The fire has left the pier severely damaged but it is hoped it can reopen this year

"Clearly, the death of a man working to repair our beloved pier after the dreadful fire of only a few weeks ago has been devastating news for us all.

"I will be contacting Mr Penrice's immediate family as soon as I receive the details from the pier owners, offering the profound condolences of our town," he said.

The fire on 30 July destroyed about a third of the 144-year-old, Grade II-listed pier.

At the height of the fire, up to 80 firefighters, together with RNLI crews, tackled the blaze, which police say may have been started deliberately.

It broke out behind some wood panelling in the arcade building, sending huge plumes of smoke into the air.

The owners of the pier have said the structure could be partially open by Christmas.

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