The community group hoping to save Suffolk’s only railway pier has recruited its MP has a patron.

South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge will be meeting again with the Shotely Pier Group in the new year, when members will take the politician for an inspection of the 123-year-old structure.

The group has been raising funds for the restoration of the pier through the Co-op’s Power to Change Community Share Booster Programme since last Christmas.

Last month, project leaders announced they were close to buying the pier, having sold shares to more than 400 people – and secured match funding through the programme.

Sally Chicken, who is a member of the group, said this week: “We still haven’t exchanged contracts but are very close.”

The group has been working closely with Babergh District Council, which gave a £20,000 grant to the project, which was originally estimated to cost £350,000.