Happisburgh lighthouse to get first repaint in nine years, after record-breaking visitor numbers

Record numbers of visitors climbed the steps at Happisburgh Lighthouse in 2017. Picture: Ian Burt

Record numbers of visitors climbed the steps at Happisburgh Lighthouse in 2017. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Happisburgh lighthouse can get a new lick of paint, nine years after its last one, thanks to nearly 4,500 visitors during its 2017 open days.

The 14 open days from Easter to September saw a total of 4,481 adults and children visit the iconic site, more than a nine pc increase on 2016's record-breaking figure of 4,101 visitors. The busiest single open day in August saw 417 visitors going up the lighthouse, again a record.

The figures were revealed at the autumn meeting of the Friends of Happisburgh Lighthouse charity, which raises money to help to maintain and preserve the the site.

The record number of visitors and their purchases of souvenirs have helped fund the much-awaited repainting of the north Norfolk lighthouse's distinctive red and white exterior.

The repaint is scheduled for June 2018. The lighthouse was last painted in 2009. A special open day in July next year will mark the completion of the painting.

Peter Martin, chairman of the friends, said: 'More and more people want to visit Happisburgh lighthouse. It provides a fascinating insight into our maritime history and our modern day challenges as well as great views along our coast. We are delighted that 2017 has been another record year for visitors and look forward to welcoming more people in 2018.

'The repainting of the lighthouse will create huge interest. Visitors are encouraged to have a look before and after the repaint. We are determined that Happisburgh lighthouse will remain an iconic feature of Norfolk's coastline for many generations to come.'

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The lighthouse has been guiding mariners since 1791 and is the only independently operating lighthouse in the country, run entirely by volunteers.

Its 2018 open days will start at Easter and full details will be at http://www.happisburgh.org.uk/lighthousePrivate visits can be arranged throughout the year, costing £30 for groups of up to six people. Special rates for schools and youth organisations are also available. More volunteers are also needed to help on open days and with a range of other tasks to keep the lighthouse open. Contact Melanie Martin at mesamar1951@gmail.comor call 01692 650982.

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