Families work the plank at Pier workshop

Pier tealight event 2014 SUS-140912-134652001
Pier tealight event 2014 SUS-140912-134652001

Around a hundred youngsters, mums, dads and carers took the opportunity to get their hands on a piece of history by taking part in a special workshop to make tea light holders with original planks from Hastings Pier.

The event was held at Hastings outreach building, ‘The Hub’ on Hastings seafront, near the pier on November 22. Beatrice Rapley, learning and education manager, along with education volunteers Gill and Becky said they had not anticipated that the demand for a place at the workshop would be so great.

Pier workshop event 2014 SUS-140912-134604001

Pier workshop event 2014 SUS-140912-134604001

Beatrice said: “No booking to the event was necessary and we thought there may be 30-50 people but nearly 100 burst through the doors to grab the unique opportunity to create their own tea light holders from original pier planks.”

People of all ages took the tea light holder challenge and Beatrice said the wood from the original pier planks is unique. She said: “The wood they used is called ‘Ipe’ and is one of the hardest woods on earth. It comes originally from Brazil, but was used on Hastings Pier as decking behind the West Pavilion - near to where the old Gritti Palace was situated.

“The pier team do not know the exact origins of the wood, but Peter Wheeler, the Project Engineer, thinks it may have been put in place following the 1987 storms.”

The planks were specially prepared for the workshop by Hastings pier’s construction and engineering apprentices Daniel Bailey and Andrew Holmes. During the workshop participants sanded and oiled the wood with beeswax, teak and linseed oil and made a little holder for a tea light using air dry clay.

Beatrice said those who took part really enjoyed the experience. She said: “Participants said they loved the atmosphere ‘enjoyed doing something creative’ and that the workshop encouraged them to ‘find out more about Hastings’ heritage’.”

Hastings Pier’s learning and education team will be running another Family Workshop of tile and glass painting inspired by the pier and the sea on Saturday January 24, 2015. For further details visit the website at: www.hpcharity.co.uk.

(Photos shown by Helen Pope and Beatrice Rapley).