FAMILIES of all ages headed down to the pier to reflect on times gone by and create new memories on the 137-year-old structure.
Glenn Ford, 57, was nearly overcome with emotion as he strolled down the walkways.
During his early 20s he had slept rough under the structure and years later, sung in the Gaiety Theatre on Sundays.
He said: ‘It’s a thrill to be back standing here on the pier where I spent so many years.
‘Just seeing all the work that has been done to it is leaving me speechless.’
David and Wendy Edward, from Drayton were in a reflective mood as they strolled the pier’s walkways.
Wendy said: ‘The pier was probably one of my first days out as a child.
‘Today I have to eat my hat as I never thought that it would open again in my lifetime.
David added: ‘They have done a really good job here. People coming here today will have so many memories of what it was like when they were younger. Now they can come along and make new ones for themselves.’
Jean Reeder, from Lovedean, said: ‘The pier holds a lot of great memories for me and it is lovely to be able to walk along her once more. She really is one of a kind and is very unique. I can’t imagine there are many piers like her still operating these days.’
Martin Hoy brought his family down to taste the sea breeze along the pier.
He said: ‘It was a real shame when it closed down so it is great to see it finally re-opened and being used again. I would love it to be a fun, family place. That was what the pier was previously all about.’
Karl Vanner, operations manager at the arcade - which is being run by the Harry Levy Group said: ‘For the city, the re-opening of the pier is an absolute godsend.
‘It provides a great place for families to take the kids and it will be well-loved by all.’
Bob Pettett, from West Sussex added: ‘It all looks amazing.’