I was born in Hastings and since the age of three most of my years I have lived only a few miles from Hastings. As a child my Mum and I spent many a weekend in Hastings staying with my Grandmother. We would visit the pier and either play on the penny slot machines, watch the fishermen or have a go on the speedboat, or just enjoy the atmosphere the pier provided. Even as a teenager I would still go to the pier to the dances where I see such groups as The Hollies and The Animals. I also won a dance competition on the pier one year. When I heard on Southern News that the pier was on fire – suspected arson – I was very upset and wanted to visit the pier the next day. Not sure why, maybe disbelief or maybe to see the extent of the damage. When we arrived the fireman were still dousing the flames and smoke was bellowing into the air. I was very saddened by what I saw. We stayed there all day and as the evening approached there were clouds sitting above the pier like clouds of doubt, doom and gloom. What would happen to the pier would it be pulled down or just reclaimed by the sea and then just like a miracle the sun dropped down behind the clouds and shafts of light burst through shining down onto the pier like rays of hope. Maybe it would be restored back to its like former glory one day. I went home that day feeling somewhat better than I did when I arrived.