A MUSIC festival had raised at least £7,000 towards the cost of refurbishing historic Hythe Pier and its 99-year-old electric railway.

Rock the Pier, one of the biggest annual events in the village, made a triumphant return earlier this month after the 2020 event was cancelled because of the pandemic.

Rock the Pier was first held in 2018 and raised £5,000 for the pier, which was recently awarded listed building status.

So many families flocked to the 2019 event that this year's festival was switched to a new venue on the promenade.

The eight-hour celebration was opened by Wire JD, followed by REM tribute band REMbrandt, When Harri met Alli and old-time skiffle and folk band the Trav Cats.

Other performers included a funk band called The Soulcatchers and solo bluesman Bob Long, with local trio the One-Offs rounding off the show.

Anthony Smith, chairman of Hythe Pier Heritage Association, said: "HPHA is proud to have staged such a successful event and is delighted with the amount raised towards its goal of restoring Hythe's listed Victorian pier and its iconic railway."

In a separate event 843 people were given a free ride on the ferry for supporting a fundraising campaign that saved the service by netting £41,000.

The Crowdfunder campaign was launched by Hythe resident Ashleigh Mutimear.

She sprang into action after operator Blue Funnel Ferries announced it had run out of money as a result of the pandemic, which left it starved of income.

In a message to everyone who backed the appeal Ashleigh said: "This campaign has been a great achievement by all and I'm so grateful to each and every one of you."

Ferry manager Sath Naidoo said he hoped everyone who enjoyed a free ride would use the service on a regular basis.

Passengers included Steve Mitten, who said: "The best part was getting up close to the cruise ships. I also forgot how convenient it was to get to Southampton and back.”