Birnbeck paintings suffer 'mindless vandalism'

PUBLISHED: 08:00 31 October 2015

One of the paintings at Birnbeck Pier which was vandalised. Photo by Lin Toulcher.

One of the paintings at Birnbeck Pier which was vandalised. Photo by Lin Toulcher.

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CAMPAIGNERS battling to save Birnbeck Pier from crumbling into the sea have expressed their disappointment after artwork painted in aid of their plight was vandalised.

Some of the original artwork from the trust's paint jam festival.Some of the original artwork from the trust's paint jam festival.

Dozens of street artists painted hoardings surrounding the derelict pier in an array of colours as part of a paint jam festival earlier this month.

The festival raised hundreds of pounds for the Birnbeck Regeneration Trust – which is aiming to restore the pier to its Victorian glory and is trying to raise at least £80,000 to carry out a feasibility study and structural survey – but has since been covered in scribbles and messages by an unknown vandal.

Trust spokesman Neil O’Donoghue said: “It is extremely disappointing that even after all of the planning, implementation and amazing end results of the Paint And Pier event, an individual has chosen to express themselves with such mindless vandalism.

“The boards have featured across all forms of media and have been enjoyed by lots of people – their social media reach alone is measured in the thousands.

“An invitation went out to street artists to come and display their talent and communicate their messages in a well-thought-out way and there was an opportunity for absolutely anyone to have a go just by contacting the trust.

“This individual could have had that opportunity, but judging by their ‘work’ they clearly didn’t have the talent to do so. Perhaps they could have chosen to write to the Mercury to air their grievances.”

Mr O’Donoghue also said the original artists had offered to repair the damage and offered people the chance to find out more about the trust’s work.

He said: “We are really pleased to say the artists have offered to repair the damage and, as always, we would be delighted to welcome anyone to discuss the trust’s ongoing efforts to secure the future of the island and pier for the people of Weston.”

The trust is working alongside the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic England, North Somerset Council and pier owner CNM Estates to save Birnbeck from further damage and build Victorian-style rides and a hotel on the structure.

For more information about the trust, click here or visit the Pier View information centre, which overlooks Birnbeck itself.

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