A CEREMONY marking the official reopening of Swanage Pier will take place next month, it has been confirmed.

Parts of the historic Victorian structure were shut down for safety reasons last March after a section almost collapsed when a structural pile was swept out to sea in gale force winds.

Swanage Pier Trust was left facing a £50,000 repair bill, which was eventually met by private donations and a sizable £39,000 Heritage Lottery Fund grant.

Around one month before suffering the storm damage, renovation work had already started on the pier’s south landing, courtesy of a grant from the De Moulham Trust.

Swanage Pier general manager Ben Adeney said: “This re-launch event, set for the end of February, is to officially recognise the work done on the south landing and to thank everyone for their support.”

Ben added: “It is fantastic that we are up and running, and this is a way of saying thank you to everyone who has helped. It is important to remember we still have 27 piles to repair though.”

Eight piles had already been replaced on the south landing, before the storm washed another one away which left the walkway in danger of collapse. This pile has also since been replaced.

The midsection and pier head of the Grade II-listed structure, voted Pier of the Year in 2012, were closed on safety grounds in the immediate aftermath of the storm damage.