THE ongoing project to restore Swanage's Victorian bandstand to its former glory moved another significant step forward, with the completion of the groundwork on site.

Friends of Swanage Bandstand (FOSB) founder Alan Houghton said: "The groundwork, the drainage, stonework, new electricity supply and now the tarmac surfaces have been completed, all to a very high standard which is a credit to the twon.

"The real exciting news is that this week Lost Art are starting on the rebuilding our beloved bandstand which is the news we’ve wanted to hear after a very long campaign for its total refurbishment.

"We have almost achieved our aim but still need a bit more financial help to get the seating that’s needed."

Swanage Bandstand was dismantled earlier this year, as part of the complete restoration of the popular structure.

Architectural firm Lost Art, who have already renovated the same bandstand as the Swanage one, in Leamington Spa, sent a team down from Wigan to take away the structure.

Mr Houghton said: "The last stage of our fundraising is for the seating and we could do with a few people who have a bit of surplus money to spare please.

"Again we thank everyone who continues to support us as we’ve almost won the battle."

The original Swanage Bandstand, manufactured by Walter Macfarlane & Co at the Saracen Foundry, Glasgow, was made of cast iron and installed in 1923.

The overall costs of the project is likely to top £207,000 by the time it is finished.

In April, thanks to £81,000 raised by FOSB, a £40,000 government coastal revival fund grant, and £50,000 pledged by Swanage Town Council, £171,000 had been raised.

In 2017 the town council announced the sunken bandstand may have to be filled in if no proposals for the site were forthcoming.

The roof of the Victorian structure had been declared unsound during refurbishment works in 2012, which had taken place to address significant storm damage it had suffered previously.

News the bandstand was facing its final curtain caused public outcry locally, and after more than 200 people attended a crisis meeting, Mr Houghton established FOSB.