A RALLYING has been made by campaigners who hope to raise £65,000 to restore a historic shelter for Southsea seafront.
Dedicated volunteers yesterday moved pieces of a two-ton Edwardian cast iron shelter from the city council’s seafront yard to a secret location for safe keeping after recent attacks by thieves and vandals.
Now members of campaign group and website SouthseaShelter.co.uk are appealing for help to restore the public shelter to its former glory.
The original shelter was put up in 1902, but was taken down in the 1980s to make way for the Pyramids Centre.
Anyone who makes a donation to the cause will have their name added to the shelter when it is erected on the seafront.
Volunteers are aiming to get planning permission for the shelter to be installed on the seafront between South Parade Pier and Eastney Swimming Pool.
And they hope to raise enough money to enable the shelter to be restored and installed next year. Fundraisers also hope reaching their £65,000 target will enable them to fund two Edwardian-style pitched roofs.
One will go on the newly-restored shelter and the other on an existing shelter near the Rock Gardens.
Leon Reis, SouthseaShelter.co.uk chairman and committee member of East Southsea Neighbourhood Forum, said: ‘People desperately need shelter on the eastern end of Southsea beach – there are nearly two miles east of South Parade Pier with not even a tree to protect you from the violent storms we have seen recently, so saving this historic shelter makes sense.
Portsmouth firm Rowlands Plants Services donated its services to move the pieces to a secure storage space.
Mr Reis added: ‘To date we haven’t saved the shelter, all we have done is put it out of reach of vandals and thieves and arsonists. If we don’t raise the £65,000 it will be melted down and lost, which is a great shame because it is beautiful. Now we have got the pieces we need to restore them which we will do by shot blasting. We have to do some digging and galvanising, then we need to make pieces to replace the not inconsiderable number of people which have been lost or stolen over the years.
‘At the moment it really does look like a very beautiful pile of old junk. We are putting in lots of hours and we are working very hard to do this.’
Email info@SouthseaShelter.co.uk to get involved.