Museum boosted by grant funding

PUBLISHED: 12:30 18 August 2014

Manager Lee Mills, Restoration Manager Rod Holloway and restoration volunteer Ryan Campbell.

Manager Lee Mills, Restoration Manager Rod Holloway and restoration volunteer Ryan Campbell.

Archant

A WESTON museum has been given almost £20,000 in grants to help fund vital renovation work.

The Helicopter Museum in Locking Moor Road has been awarded a series of grants in recent weeks.

The charity is run by volunteers and has won numerous awards, including the most recent Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

A grant of more than £14,000 has been given by the Arts Council PRISM Fund to restore a rare prototype Fairey Ultra Light helicopter.

The aircraft was originally built in 1956 for military evaluation, but development was abandoned in 1959 and the aircraft was rediscovered in an Essex farmyard.

A volunteer team has been rebuilding the aircraft since 2011 and the PRISM Fund grant will allow this work to be completed so it can go on display.

A second grant of £5,000 has also been awarded by the Association of Independent Museums so the charity can hire an expert who will create a strategy to raise money towards a new building project.

The museum hopes to replace temporary buildings to expand the display area and upgrade the retail and café facilities.

Finally, the South West Federation of Museums has approved two smaller grants for a digital review to improve the visitor experience.

Chairman of the museum trustees Elfan Ap Rees said: “After 25 years of being open to the public we have recognised that some of our facilities, originally developed by volunteers on a shoestring budget, need upgrading as befits a museum of international renown.

“It now needs to better present itself to visitors to reflect this standing from the moment they enter the gate.

“We believe these grants will help pave the way to achieving that change.”

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