Almost 7,000 more tickets have been sold at Ilfracombe Pier car park as the town marks a year in the company of Hirst’s 67 foot statue.

A year ago today, work was under way to hoist Verity into position on Ilfracombe Pier.A year ago today, work was under way to hoist Verity into position on Ilfracombe Pier.

TOMORROW (Wednesday) marks the first anniversary of Damien Hirst's Verity being hoisted into place on Ilfracombe Pier.

North Devon Council says visitor numbers have shot up, with almost 7,000 extra parking tickets bought at the pier, taking the total to 81,756.

Figures show from October 2011 to September 2012, 74,975 visitors bought tickets, but from October 2012 to September this year, that rose to 81,756, bucking the national trend of falling car parking figures.

"There is no denying there has been a buzz around the town for the last year," said executive member for development at Ilfracombe, Councillor Mike Edmunds.

A year ago today, work was under way to hoist Verity into position on Ilfracombe Pier.A year ago today, work was under way to hoist Verity into position on Ilfracombe Pier.

"More visitors mean more business and that can only be a good thing.

"I know many people were dubious about Verity's arrival. Love her or hate her though, I hope everyone can see how she has benefited Ilfracombe and will hopefully continue to do so in the future.

"Still, the council mustn't rest on its laurels. This is only the start of developing Ilfracombe to make it a far more prosperous community."

Local ward member Councillor Paul Yabsley added: "I have asked many businesses in Ilfracombe how this summer has been compared to recent ones and many are reporting a significant increase in trade.

A year ago today, work was under way to hoist Verity into position on Ilfracombe Pier.A year ago today, work was under way to hoist Verity into position on Ilfracombe Pier.

"One hotelier reported a 53 per cent increase. Many objectors have come around and are also now embracing the unique visitor to our town."

Two information boards have now been installed by Damien Hirst's company Science Ltd. One has been placed on Lantern Hill, the other along Marine Drive.

A third, next to Verity, is due to be installed soon, along with other improvement works to the viewing area.