Given wider fame by the Princess Royal, Anneka Rice and Ellie Goulding - Happisburgh Lighthouse is 225 years old

Happisburgh Lighthouse. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY


'You don't look your age.'

Anneka Rice at Happisburgh Lighthouse for the TV show Challenge Anneka in 1990.

Anneka Rice at Happisburgh Lighthouse for the TV show Challenge Anneka in 1990.

It is an observation to make any of us stand tall. And it is apt for the towering, pristine, candy-striped Happisburgh Lighthouse, which is celebrating its 225th birthday.

The much-photographed landmark was first lit on January 1 1791 – when William Pitt the Younger was prime minister and just before Thomas Paine published Rights of Man.

And, thanks to a stalwart team of volunteers who last year celebrated 25 years of looking after the clifftop sentinel, it is now the oldest working lighthouse in East Anglia and the only independently-operated working lighthouse in the Britain.

To celebrate its big birthday, the lighthouse received a special present – the promise of a makeover for its 96 spiral stairs.

For Happisburgh Lighthouse Trust announced that October's Zip Wire Challenge – which saw 200 people brave the wire from the top of the lighthouse – raised more than £30,000.

The trust set a fundraising target of £25,225 – the figure coming from the twin anniversaries. It was exceeded, and will enable the refurbishment of the staircase.

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During 2016 the lighthouse will be open to visitors on 15 weekend days from Easter onwards. Other events to mark the 225th anniversary are being planned.

The trust is appealing for more volunteers to help with the open days.

They can help on the door, in the souvenir shop, guiding visitors to the top of the lighthouse and telling them about the building, its history and current day-to-day operation in Happisburgh.

Trust chairman Patrick Tubby said: 'Happisburgh lighthouse is still shining brightly after 225 years. It has a wonderful history and a very bright future.

'It's a great time to get involved and we always welcome new volunteers. Happisburgh wouldn't be Happisburgh without the lighthouse.'

To volunteer, contact Val Howson via happisburghlighthouse