Helpers sought for DIY jobs with Helicopter Museum expansion

The sculpture has recently been moved to the Helicopter Museum's gate.

The sculpture has recently been moved to the Helicopter Museum's gate. - Credit: Supplied

Ground has been broken on a scheme to improve one of Weston-super-Mare’s museums.

A single-storey extension to The Helicopter Museum, in Locking Moor Road, will improve the offering for visitors.

It will house a reception and café among other facilities.

General manager Lee Mills said the work will take about one year to complete.

The new section will replace the Pratten Building, which housed the visitor services for some 30 years, despite it only ever being a temporary structure.

It has previously been in use by Westland Helicopters for apprentice training at Winterstoke Road and was refurbished by museum volunteers for its new role.

However, given its temporary nature, the condition of the Pratten Building has declined over recent years.

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It deteriorated to a point where it was unsafe and uneconomic to repair, so was demolished earlier this year.

The museum’s trustees tried to fund the extension through reserves but it is seeking sponsorship and volunteers to help out with the fit-out. Works they need help with include internal stud walling, and the installation of power, plumbing and other services and equipment.

Mr Mills said: “While the museum has been able to apply for grant aid towards the exhibition and education aspects of the project, regrettably efforts to obtain grants for the more practical elements, required to ensure sustainability, have so far been unsuccessful.

“As a result, we need to take a DIY approach to these elements and complete them as and when we can.

“However our target is to finish the works by the end of 2019 to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the official opening of the museum by HRH The Duke of York, Prince Andrew in 1989.”

The new building will include a new reception, café, shop, plus conference and education areas.

There will also be an introductory area to the museum collection, which is built around the world’s oldest surviving helicopter, the Hafner R2 which dates back to 1931.

Speaking in the spring, museum founder Elfan Ap Rees admitted to the Mercury the old entrance was ‘not very attractive’ but believes the chances will make a big difference.

To support the cause and to offer some help to the museum, email