West Pier Memories

The Centre recently hosted its first afternoon session for those living with Dementia and their carers from DMob and Cornerstones, two locally-based monthly peer support groups.

“We were there for a very enjoyable couple of hours,” Alice Ellis, the Dementia Services Co-ordinator for Age UK West Sussex and Brighton & Hove, said. “There was a presentation by a local historian, Jackie Marsh-Hobbs, taking us through the whole history of the West Pier. It afforded the opportunity for lots of discussion because people had memories of the Pier at different periods in their lives.

“Some went back as far as the Second World War, when nobody was allowed on the Pier and a section was dismantled in case it was used during an invasion. One of our gentlemen actually helped with the later deconstruction of the Pier, which was really fascinating. He has a lovely garden bench which has been adapted from an old seat from the Pier!

“After that they had the chance to talk to Jackie more generally about other local landmarks. It was really good for them because when one person remembered something, it often turned out that someone else did too.

“Everyone loved it and Rachel [Clark, the West Pier Trust chief executive] has invited us to meet another three times. We’ll be talking about the Aquarium, the Palace Pier and bathing machines. We have had so much interest in our upcoming meetings and we are looking forward to them.”