SWANAGE Pier Trust hopes to raise £10,000 towards its renovation appeal by raffling off its historic 10,000th brass plaque.

The milestone plaque will soon become available on the Grade II-listed pier's walkway, which has been adorned with plaques since the launch of the 'Sponsor a Plank' scheme in 1995.

Last month Swanage Pier Trust was provisionally awarded an £805,000 Heritage Lottery Fund grant towards its estimated £1.7 million regeneration project.

However, the trust must raise £800,000 match-funding by itself in order to qualify for the lottery cash.

Ben Adeney, chief executive at the pier, explained: "The lucky winner will have the chance to have their dedication placed on the pier, to remain their for years to come."

The little brass plaques have become increasingly popular in recent years, with visitors and residents buying them as gifts, to announce special occasions, as memorials or celebrations.

Mr Adeney said: "The dedications on plaques range from funny to intensely personal and we have had some very interesting stories around them, including marriage proposals and even a divorce.

"People return year-after-year to visit their plaque and many people tell us of their happy memories of family visits."

The Swanage Pier Regeneration Project will also include a new visitor centre, featuring an exhibition on Swanage's history, its marine environment and its world heritage coastline.

Trust chiefs also want to develop educational activities on site, including an outdoor classroom.

"This is a special opportunity to be part of the pier's heritage and story," said Mr Adeney. "Every penny raised will go directly towards the regeneration of the award-winning pier."

Raffle tickets cost £1 and are on sale at the Swanage Pier gateway and cafe.

The winning ticket will be chosen in November.