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Sunset by Roger op den Camp

This beautiful photograph was recently taken by Roger 


Preparations for the arrival of the 17 tower cans on the West Pier beach in June are well underway. The huge basement is being dug now and at the end of this month the first of two concrete pours will take place. Meanwhile the crane mat on the beach is being created using the shingle dug out from the basement. It's well worth a visit to the site to see the scale of the work, but if that's not possible the Argus hosted webcam is irresistible watching .  If you don't already subscribe to i360's monthly newsletter here is the latest edition which contains lots of detail and news. The Brighton i360's blog also contains posts about all aspects of the scheme -  click here for posts.

Nigel Pittman - a profile

Critical to delivering the mission of the Trust is the professional expertise and energy of Board members who we have been introducing to you in a series of profiles over the last year.  This month we’d like you to meet Nigel Pittman whose long career in arts and heritage government ministries in England and Scotland has lent the Trust expertise in the pursuit of funding initiatives.
Nigel’s life is one of contrasts, vocationally and it might be said at the very least, climatically.  Raised in Surrey, his mother was an avid theatre-goer, taking the young Nigel on many trips to the Old Vic.  At around the age of 9 years, he was privileged to see rising star Judi Dench play Juliet, young talent that was to foster an early interest in acting. Nigel was to secure the lead in a number of school productions and eventually succeeded to RADA where he beat off competition from thousands of hopefuls to gain one of thirty places. Nigel graduated with the natural progression being the pursuit of an Equity card.  But like many of his contemporaries including the writer and TV presenter Jonathan Meades, rival passions were to divert him from this course.
Mountaineering had increasingly become an obsession that distracted him from the bright lights of London and regular visits to Scottish highlands and the Lake District resulted in being recruited as a hillwalking guide for the Holiday Fellowship.  It was here he met his Finnish first wife, which in turn prompted relocation to Helsinki where he was recruited without experience or qualification, as an English teacher.   The lure of the Scottish hills was to compete with the snows of Finland and for the next twenty years, Nigel divided his time between the two countries.  On his return to Edinburgh, Nigel applied to join the civil service on the strict proviso he did not have to leave Scotland. 
A steady rise within the corridors of government administration was to follow, including being assigned as Scottish Labour minister, Hugh Brown’s private secretary.  A brief spell working under a young and ambitious Malcolm Rifkind provided a strong contrast but Nigel’s main area of specialism lay in developing initiatives which enhanced arts in education and enterprise including supporting the Scottish Arts and Film Councils and working for four years to establish the National Museums of Scotland.  After moving to London, Nigel managed a number of significant developments in the administration of national museums and by the early 1990’s was well placed to play a role in setting up the National Lottery.
As Director of Resources and Services, Nigel was responsible for establishing the management and administrative structure of the Department of National Heritage which was to confirm him as something of an authority on organisational restructuring.   Subsequently he worked closely with English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund, with UNESCO and the management of world heritage sites and later, as the Interim Chief Executive of the National Lottery Charities Board  managing £250M in annual grants, 500 staff and 15 offices across the UK.  After a spell as the Arts Council’s Executive Director for London, Nigel took early retirement from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport in 2005.
Nigel’s involvement with the West Pier Trust came after Chairman Glynn Jones recruited him to assist with heritage strategies in 2007 but his involvement with Brighton predates this by many years when he moved here in 1993 to join his second wife, Jessica Rutherford, then Brighton’s Head of Museums and Keeper of the Royal Pavilion.  As you’d expect, he’s a reservoir of cultural learning, a classical music aficionado and trustee of the Brighton Early Music Festival .  His professional experience aided the Trust’s recent Heritage Lottery application for funds to restore the Kiosk.  Although unsuccessful in a climate of extreme competition, he remains confident it will be achievable through alternative funding initiatives.  He divides his time between Brighton and Andalucía; both hilly but perhaps not quite so brisk as the Highlands.











Public Consultation - New Pier Options

Matt Carney, Chair of the Board's Future Strategy group, has completed his final report on the consultation which concluded at the end of February. We received well over a hundred responses to our questionnaire and some of the respondents were civic societies representing their complete membership. We hope to have the document posted on our website by the end of May. The next step will be to report our findings to Council planners and discuss the next stages with them. 

i360 Talk & Tour Event

We were delighted by the enthusiastic response received to this Trust members' event on 27th May. The event is now full but if you were disappointed there are still tickets available for the Brighton Fringe version of the event, click here for more information. We will be offering members another exclusive i360 event later in the year and will be in touch about it in a few weeks' time. If you're not a member of the Trust and would like to be included in these special events joining is simple and cheap. Complete and return the membership form and you will immediately become eligible. 

Mackerel Fayre 

The Fishing Museum, which along with its own fascinating fishing memorabilia hosts a collection of West Pier artefacts and interpretation, is holding its annual Mackerel Fayre on 17th May. It starts at 12.30 - it's a lovely family event and highly recommended.


The Silence of Snow - the Life of Patrick Hamilton

Don't forget this must-see production in Brighton Fringe from the company that produced the brilliant dramatisation of Patrick Hamilton's 'The West Pier' last year. It's showing at the Rialto and there are still tickets available - click here for more details. 
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