But there’s one slight catch: he has to first win a part in a Hollywood blockbuster to pay for his philanthropic mission. Mr Altman revealed his passion for the pier on our kmfm radio show when he told how much he misses the structure, which was such an important part of his childhood.
Currently starring in pantomime in Middesborough, he said:
“If ever I make a movie in Hollywood and make millions I would actually build a new pier in Herne Bay, definitely, let’s pray I get a big job because I really miss it.”
Herne Bay Pier Trust chairman Doreen Stone was thrilled to learn of Altman’s commitment, suggesting he would make a great patron for the charity,
“I think having a big name on board would be marvellous and it would be lovely to talk to him.”
We can exclusively reveal he has agreed to become the Trust’s figurehead. Mr Altman said:
“I would be honoured to become patron.”
A loan of £60,000 from the Kent Community Foundation will pay for a further 17 huts, which will be rented out to traders, and plans are in hand to develop a cafe on the platform. Three individual proprietors have shown keen interest in running the venture. Mrs Stone said:
“Regenerating the existing pier is bringing a magical mix of retail and entertainment and we are trying to bring back the heritage of the pier. Herne Bay is certainly on the up and the Peoples Millions was a real community effort with a lot of local groups working together.”
Mr Altman was a pupil at Whitstable’s Sir Nottidge School, now the Community College Whitstable, where he enjoyed his first acting experience.
He gained cult status in EastEnders as Dot Cotton’s wayward son Nick from 1985 to 2009 and his role is currently enjoying a revival. He has just released a single, an Iggy Pop cover, Real Wild Child (Wild One), with JOAN ovARC. He is busy promoting the song with an eye to achieving the elusive Christmas number one slot. He said:
“It would be great to put my name to the pier even though I’m massively busy. I have such treasured memories of the pier in the 60s with the track still running to the cafe at the end. It was such a joy to walk down there. I haven’t made pots of money yet but when a big movie comes along I would be glad to make a huge contribution to rebuilding the pier. Maybe I’ll meet a millionaire on my travels and I could ask if they would like to invest in a pier.”
HB Times 20th Dec 2014