Funnyman John Cleese and veteran actor Timothy West have thrown their weight behind a campaign to save a dilapidated pier in England where they spent happy days during their childhood.

The Victorian jetty at the coastal town of Weston-super-Mare closed in 1994 and recently suffered damage when a severe storm hit the region.

Local residents are banding together to try to save Birnbeck Pier from potential destruction by forming a charitable trust to apply for local government grants, and both Cleese and West are backing the move.

Monty Python star Cleese, who was born in Weston-super-Mare, says, "Dad and I used to go to the pier because they had a Tv in the bar and we went and watched England Test (cricket) matches there.

"We also used to catch the ferry to Barry Fun Fair from the side-pier. It's a very striking and unusual pier, and I hope we can manage to rescue it."

West, who lived in nearby Bristol as a child and often visited the pier on family holidays, says, "The pier had a wonderful elegance and still has. In its dilapidated condition you can still see what a graceful piece of engineering it is and... it is very sad to see it in its present state."

Bosses of a property development company who currently own Birnbeck Pier are set to make a decision on its future next month (Mar15).