The speech was made at a private party in the British Airways i360 beachfront event spaces and was attended by almost 150 people including city councillors, senior members of the council administration, funders, partners and members of the project’s design and construction team.

Summing up the achievements of the year, Mayor Marsh said: “Tourism is really important to the economy of Brighton and Hove and British Airways i360 is bringing visitors from all over the world. It’s unique – just like our city!”

She also praised the attraction’s free school ticket programme, speaking “as governor of two schools”, saying: “In the first year of operations you have given 39,000 free tickets to the city’s children, one for every child in a state school in Brighton & Hove, and that makes me very proud indeed.”

Brighton & Hove City Council Chief Executive Geoff Raw also spoke at the event, saying: “What’s fantastic about British Airways i360 is that it is a beacon for Brighton and a real positive statement of confidence that we are a place which continues to try and get international profile and bring investment into the city.”

Speeches were also delivered by David Marks, chairman of British Airways i360, and Steve Bax, executive director. Brighton Gay Men’s Chorus performed at the event, and guests enjoyed a special British Airways i360 birthday cake which was a model of the attraction made by Brighton Cakes, complete with tower, pod and two tollbooths.

British Airways i360 was conceived and designed by Marks Barfield Architects, creators of the London Eye.