Presenter Matt Baker spent a day on Britain’s oldest pier with members of the Wightlink team and Project Manager Jerry Burch from Trant Engineering; the company which carries out refurbishment work on the 703 metre long Grade II listed structure.
Jerry explained some of the ongoing maintenance which needs to be done to keep the 200 year old pier in good shape and Matt donned overalls and safety equipment to try his hand at part of the work, chipping away old concrete with a power drill before replacing it with new concrete and then overlayering with a waterproof epoxy resin skin.
“As I remarked to Matt, this is one of the most unusual construction sites we’ve ever worked on – you are continually chasing the tide in and out. While this was Britain’s first pleasure pier, setting the trend for other seaside resorts to follow, it was not always a pleasure for us in driving rain or minus 8 Celsius temperatures at 3am!”
In 2011, Wightlink spent £5million on major repairs to the pier, Wightlink Head of Operations Sean Millward supervised the work. He says:
“It’s great to know our pier is going to be a TV star. Viewers will be able to see for themselves how our ongoing investment keeps this important pier for future generations to enjoy. Although Ryde Pier was built in the same year as George Stephenson’s first steam locomotive, it is still a vital part of our operation and we appreciate Trant’s hard work in looking after it for us. We are looking forward to watching Countryfile and finding out what Matt thought of his day with us.”
The team were also joined by Tony Packer and Vic Scovell from the Historic Ryde Society who reminisced about days gone by.
The show will air at 18:20 on Sunday (2nd November).