Eastbourne and Willingdon MP Caroline Ansell joined the Maritime Volunteer Service (MVS) charity for a boat trip out to the recently decommissioned Royal Sovereign Lighthouse.

Captain Les Quilty, engineer Alan Buffery and the crew sailed out of Sovereign Harbour for the six-mile voyage aboard East Sussex One with Caroline and councillor David Small where a crane vessel is currently on site dismantling the lighthouse.

It was built in 1970 to warn ships of the Royal Sovereign Shoal and deactivated in 2022.

The crew explained the work of the MVS, how the charity works to increase the accessibility of the ocean and take out community groups, schools and disadvantaged children to offer training on boat handling and maritime safety.

The previous day the crew had been working with a beach clean-up under Beachy Head and had brought back 10 tons of plastic on the boat.

“Many thanks to the wonderful MVS team for taking us out to see the lighthouse – it was incredible to get so close up.  Going forward, it will be strange not to see it on the horizon. It’s been part of the seascape since 1971,” said Caroline.

“The charity does so much good work in East Sussex and it was a pleasure to hear about some of it from Les and his crew of volunteers.

“As a coastal community, the sea is undeniably our greatest asset and access is very important.”

The MVS is free for anyone to volunteer with and meets once a week in Sovereign Harbour.