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North Pier owner’s pledge: ‘We’ll be back’

Some of the carnage on the North Pier after the storms. Below: Peter Sedgewick

Some of the carnage on the North Pier after the storms. Below: Peter Sedgewick

That was the defiant message today from the owner of Blackpool’s most historic landmark after the full devastating scale of damage caused by last week’s storms was revealed for the first time.

Peter Sedgewick, who bought North Pier – the spot where he proposed to his wife more than 40 years ago – in 2011 today said he was determined to bring his beloved attraction back to life.

It comes after bosses today announced the 150-year-old Pier will not be fully repaired for two months after being battered by the worst storms to hit the Fylde coast in years.

But Mr Sedgewick vowed: “I won’t let it die. I have just walked off the pier, it is 7pm and I have been down here all day helping to get it right. We will be doing this everyday for the next six months.

“The weather has done a lot of damage and from a financial point of view it’s not easy - it’s going to be a big operation.

“The thing is the North Pier was the first pier in Blackpool – the family is so proud to own it. We have put a lot of money into it in the past three years and we will be putting every penny in to rebuilding it.

“This has been a big, big setback and we will have to spend thousands and thousands of pounds.

“It is heartbreaking to see the damage caused. But we will get the pier back and back up and running – I’m hoping we can re-open by mid-February. I can assure all the people of Blackpool we will be back.”

The full extent of the chaos left behind at the resort’s 150-year-old landmark by last Thursday’s storms has left much of the pier unsafe.

The winds tore apart the boardwalk, railings and destroyed the theatre’s orchestra pit and left the sun lounge strewn with broken glass.

The damage is estimated to top £1m.

Dominic Herdman, Pier manager, says staff are now battling to ensure the theatre will be repaired in time for its first show at the end of March.

He said: “It is heartbreaking for all of the team.

“There’s not just me here, there’s the family and a whole team of people that dedicate their lives to this, but we have to pick ourselves up. I’m devastated but I’m lucky to work for a family which has a ‘never say die’ attitude.”

Stars of the Blackpool stage today told of the importance of North Pier in the town’s entertainment scene.

Keith Harris said: “The North Pier was always where your new stars went – everyone went to the North Pier.

“When you got on stage there was always a great atmosphere. It did go into disrepair but the family which bought it has brought it back – it is such a shame this has happened.”

Comedian Syd Little added: “It was a special place with a great atmosphere. I’ve got fond memories. I am glad it is going to be saved – I do not want it to go. I hope it’s around for another 100, 150 years.”

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