WORTHING Pier has been named the best in the country.

The town is celebrating after the structure won the title of Pier of the Year 2019.

Worthing saw off competition from Clacton, whose pier came second, and Cleveland Pier, which was third.

Worthing Pier had finished in the top three, without winning, for the past four years.

The competition is run by the members of the National Piers Society (NPS).

Worthing Mayor Councillor Paul Baker said: “I am delighted the National Piers Society has recognised what a fantastic pier we have down here in Worthing.

“It really is a beautiful landmark for the town, reviving so many great memories for people who have used it down through the years.

“It symbolises all that is classic about a traditional pier.”

The town joins a small list of places across the UK to have claimed the accolade on more than one occasion.

Worthing won Pier of the Year for the first time in 2006.

The structure was opened on April 12, 1862. It was designed as a landing stage but in 1889 a pavilion was erected on the pier head.

Other towns to have scooped the top prize twice include Cromer, in 2000 and 2015, Clevedon, 1999 and 2013, and Weston-Super-Mare 2001 and 2011. Sussex has had its fair share of Pier of the Year winners over the course of the award’s 23-year history.

Eastbourne Pier won the inaugural vote in 1997 and was followed the year after by Brighton’s Palace Pier.

They were the only two locations in Sussex, aside from Worthing, to win the award until 2017, when Hastings joined the list.

The National Piers Society was founded 40 years ago by Sir John Betjeman and currently has 900 members.