Funds needed to repaint lighthouse before the Olympic torch passes Beachy Head in July

Ruth Hazard Published: 24 February 2012

© Nigel Homer
Campaigners for the Keep the Stripes project are making a desperate bid to raise £27,000 for the restoration of Beachy Head lighthouse before the Olympic torch passes through Eastbourne in July.

The site will face the glare of the world's media this summer and if plans to get the shabby exterior repainted aren't successful then it will be of major embarrassment to the area.

The project has managed to raise £2,500 so far, meaning there is still a long way to go in meeting the cost of the refurbishment that requires specialist workmen.

Cutbacks at Trinity House have meant the lighthouse is no longer used as a Day Marker and so funding for the restoration of the stripes has been stopped.

Travel writer Bill Bryson is backing the project. He says Beachy Head Lighthouse is "one of the most uplifting sights anywhere along the English coastline".

"Those jaunty red stripes are what make it literally outstanding. It would be a tragedy to lose them,” he explains.

John Craven, Griff Rhys Jones and patron of the Association of Lighthouse Keepers, Neil Oliver, have also added their voices to the campaign.

As well as attracting the support of local organisations, the project is being sponsored by Crown paints, who will donate the paint needed for the project.