CAMPAIGNERS have received a grant towards the cost of restoring a Hampshire train that was once used by Britain's wartime king.

Hythe Pier Heritage Association (HPHA) has been awarded £10,000, which will be used to refurbish the carriages that conveyed King George V1 and his aides shortly before the D-Day landings in 1944.

The carriages have been in use for almost 100 years and are in a poor state of repair.

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As reported in the Daily Echo, members of the association have drawn up plans to restore the pier and the train, which normally takes passengers to and from the Hythe ferry.

The £10,000 has come from the Beaulieu Beaufort Foundation, a charity that supports local organisations and individuals.

HPHA chairman Peter King said: "This is a great start to our funding campaign to support the restoration of historic and much-loved pier railway.

"We are very grateful to the Beaulieu Beaufort Foundation for their support and endorsement of our plans.

"The funds will be used to buy the materials we need to begin the work to rebuild the railway carriages, which are in a poor state of repair. The work will begin once the current restrictions imposed because of the Covid-19 crisis have been lifted."

The railway began operating in the summer of 1922.

It has been running ever since, apart from a two-month shutdown caused by a dredger which crashed into the pier - destroying a 150ft section of the structure - in November 2003.

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According to the Guinness Book of Records it is the longest continuously running electric pier train in the world.

King George V1 paid a surprise visit to Hythe, arriving by launch from Southampton, before reviewing some of the troops who were preparing to take part in the Normandy landings.

Two groups of sailors had to make hasty preparations for the visit once the 5pm ferry to Southampton had departed.

One group had less than ten minutes to clean the train before the royal party arrived. The other sailors formed a guard of honour along the pier, saluting as the king's carriage passed.