Australian man donates £10,000 towards building new pier in Withernsea in memory of World War Two hero father

A well-wisher from Down Under has come to the aid of plans to build a pier in a Yorkshire coastal town with a surprise £10,000 donation

New floodlights funded by Yorkshire BID have been installed on the Pier Towers
New floodlights funded by Yorkshire BID have been installed on the Pier Towers

The man, who grew up in Withernsea and emigrated to Australia, wanted to make the donation in memory of his father who was killed on front-line service during the Second World War.

It is the second £10,000 donation in less than two months and brings campaigners a step closer to their £209,000 target to build a viewing platform as the first stage of the project.

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The Withernsea Pier and Promenade Association believe a pier will put the isolated coastal town back on the map and could attract another 10,000 visitors and boost local businesses.

Concept drawing of the first stage, the viewing platform

Secretary Sam Watson said: “He first got in touch with a photo from 1948 of the beach showing the two stumps of the original pier. He went to school in Withernsea but his father died at El Alamein in 1942. It really is a generous offer and brings us that bit closer to our target.”

The man's father's name is listed on the Second World War memorial, which is set in gardens not far from the Pier Towers.

Torkel Larsen came up with the idea of building a new pier after chancing upon the original architect’s drawings nearly four years ago.

The original pier of 1877, which lasted less than three decades, having being hit by a number of ships was 1,200ft.

Artist's impression of what the pier will look like

The new pier would be around half that length but wider. The final goal would be to build a two-storey building at the end with panoramic views of the sea, demonstrating all forms of renewable energy and with a cafe downstairs.

Mr Larsen said they now need just £41,000 to start the first phase: “It is very encouraging to see that local businesses, funders and private individuals believes so strongly in this project.

“It would be great if some of the big businesses we have in our region would also get involved in the project. It is no longer a question of whether it’s going to go ahead, it is how long it will take us to get the last bit of money.”

Plans can be seen at the Pier Towers which will be open this weekend.