Burnham-On-Sea’s new tourist information centre was opened on Thursday (April 14th) under the ownership of a brand new community group.

Glastonbury Festival boss Michael Eavis performed the official opening of the new-look centre at 12 noon by pulling the town flag from the front of the building to unveil the centre’s new tourist information sign.

The function was watched by a crowd of around 100 people and invited guests, including the town’s Mayor and Mayoress and Sedgemoor District Council Chairman Jane Moreton.

The ceremony comes after Sedgemoor District Council this week formally handed over the centre to the newly-formed community group BIARS (Burnham Information And Rescue Support).

In a speech outside the centre, BIARS President Neville Jones thanked the volunteers and sponsors who have come forward so far to help launch the new facilities, with over £7,000 being raised from local firms to date.

He singled out several helpers for the work they have done in opening the new centre – Tim Mander from Sedgemoor District Council, who enabled a swift handover of the building; former staff at the TIC for helping with the handover; key staff at BARB including Steve Perks and Angela Fey for their work with merchandise; Ian Jefferies at Burnham Coastguard; BIARS treasurer Tom Ashton; BIARS publicity officer Mark Newman; and secretary Ken Smout.

Neville added: “If David Cameron or Nick Clegg want to see the Big Society in action, come to Burnham and see how our tourist centre is being run now!”

Click here to watch our exclusive video interview with Michael Eavis.

Supporters of Burnham hovercraft rescue charity BARB and The Coastguard Association are handing out sea safety information and selling charity merchandise at the new centre.

Also, a wide range of new tourist information, travel advice, leaflets, and details on local attractions are available at the building, in addition to new stock including artwork from Burnham artist Judith Champion, local fudge, Bristol Blue glass, Rich’s Cider Farm drinks, and merchandise from Burnham-On-Sea.com – all of which are being sold to keep the centre running.

BIARS is still keen to hear from more volunteers to help run the centre. To find out more, visit the BIARS web page here.

Michael Eavis said he was ‘honoured’ to be invited to perform the opening

Volunteer Ian Jefferies was thanked for his work in helping to set up the new tourist centre by BIARS Chairman Neville Jones during the ceremony

Michael Eavis was presented with a glass paperweight with a picture of the town’s lighthouse at the end of Thursday’s ceremony

The BIARS volunteers gathered together for the launch of the new centre

Michael Eavis visited the BARB hovercraft station during his visit and is seen here with BARB Chairman Mark Newman and Deputy Ops manager Graham Hallsworth

BIARS Chairman Neville Jones with Jane Moreton and town clerk Eileen Shaw, who is making a good recovery after a recent accident

Michael Eavis also visited Burnham Coastguards during Thursday’s visit

Joan White was thanked by the dignitaries for putting on the refreshments

Michael Eavis with some of the volunteers during the opening

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