Herne Bay Pier has started an online crowdfunding campaign after Storm Gareth left it facing a repair bill of almost £15,000.
Not only was it was hit by gusts of up to 65 miles per hour, the wind also blew in the perfect direction to cause devastation to the pier’s walkway and its vintage carousel amusement ride.
Although the pier’s structure survived, its white huts suffered only minor exterior PIER damage and other features that were blown over could be stood back up, several of its windbreak panels were also destroyed.
Doreen Stone, chair of the Herne Bay Pier Trust, had initially thought the damage would be limited, but was moved to tears when she realised the extent of the costs it now faces.
She told Kent Online: “It’s worse than I thought it would be. When I got to the pier I just felt so sad.
“The whole of the canopy over the carousel was ruined and the lights and decorations underneath it have all been smashed.
“The windbreak panels were also broken up into little squares. It’s such a shame.
“We’ve taken insurance out on loads of things, but it doesn’t cover things like the carousel. We’re mostly insured against injuries to people.”
Stone said the carousel’s canopy was “irreparable” and revealed it is unlikely to be replaced until Easter, with the rest of the repairs to the ride expected to run as high as £10,000.
This comes in addition to the bill for the replacement windbreaks – which are worth £500 each – that is estimated to rise to £4,000.
The Trust has set up a crowdfunding page on the JustGiving website, appealing for local support from the community to help raise the money.
Stone added that it was the worst storm the pier had seen in the last five years, and expressed fears that further turbulent weather would only add to the repair bill.
“We’ll be reopening the pier as soon as the wind drops,” she added. “All the trustees are sweeping up all the broken glass to make sure it’s not dangerous.
“I expect us to open at the weekend, but that depends on whether it’s safe for us and the public to go back onto. We’re not going to put anyone at risk.”