A record-breaking month at Southend Pier has helped businesses rebound from the coronavirus pandemic.

The iconic seafront attraction welcomed more than 74,000 visitors in August, the highest number since records began 14 years ago.

On top of breaking the record for most visitors on the pier in one month, pier visitors for the year to date have already surpassed the total visitor numbers from last year.

Darren Latimer, who owns several pier businesses including the crazy golf course and fish and chips hut, said the summer season had been "amazing" and visitor numbers were helping establishments recover from the pandemic.

“It’s an amazing amount of people and we’ve had a fabulous couple of months, it’s just been amazing,” he said.

“The pier is a worldwide attraction, and we got a lot of foreign visitors, people on their holidays from places in Asia, especially China. There were also a lot of visitors down from London and of course all the locals enjoying the pier as well. We have had an amazing number of visitors these last few months.”

After months of lockdown and the financial hardships imposed by the pandemic, it was great to finally be back in business, Darren says.

“We have done very well since coming back. It’s been a real turnaround for us. We are back on track and doing good.”

He added: “It also provides an employment boost for the area. We get a lot of school leavers, university students and sixth formers come through and work over the summer months.”

The record-breaking year came despite a few staffing issues, caused by self-isolation requirements and illness.

The 1.33-mile pier is set for refurbishment in the coming months, including new, eco-friendly pier trains, arriving this month, additional toilets and an updated Royal Pavilion to provide a restaurant service.

Cllr Carole Mulroney, cabinet member for environment, culture, tourism and planning, welcomed the news. She said: “The figures really our outstanding. When you take into consideration that we haven’t had the best of weather in recent weeks, for the figures to be so high goes to show how well-loved Southend is for tourism. With so many improvements coming to the pier in the coming months, I am confident that next year, we will smash all types of records.

“I would like to thank the pier staff for making visitors feel so welcome to our town. We have so much to offer, and I believe we can also put the August numbers down to an increase in visitors who are looking to spend the whole weekend here or longer to enjoy what our town has to offer.”