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Holt Museum Trust to fold

16:57 20 November 2012

Holt Museum Trust founder Howard Heathfield, who died last year, pictured at an exhibition organised by the trust on  former Gresham

Holt Museum Trust founder Howard Heathfield, who died last year, pictured at an exhibition organised by the trust on former Gresham's pupils who went on to become famous inventors.

Archant © 2005

Holt Museum Trust is being wound up after a near decade-long fruitless search for premises suitable to house a town museum.

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The charity’s four remaining trustees took the decision to close last month and are now discussing what to do with about £22,000 in the trust’s coffers. Acting chairman Tony Leech said that would be done “according to the requirements of the Charity Commission”.

The trust was founded in 2003 by Holt resident Howard Heathfield, who died last year.

Mr Heathfield’s original vision was to buy the St John Ambulance hall, on New Street, a former 19th-century Wesleyan Chapel in the Conservation Area.

But, despite a major fund-raising effort, the building was sold to developers.

There were further attempts to secure premises over the years, including the site of the Church Street public toilets, an extension of Holt Library and the former chapel at Kelling Hospital, but all proved too expensive or unsuitable.

Mr Leech said: “Howard Heathfield’s vision of a Holt Museum was one that many supported. Even with his drive and enthusiasm, however, acquisition of suitable premises proved impossible.

“Since his death it became apparent that the creation of a museum along the lines he envisaged would not be possible so the trustees have reluctantly decided to close the trust.”

A suggestion, by would-be developers of the town’s Railway Tavern, that a room could be made available for the Holt Museum Trust as part of the scheme had never been made formally to the trustees, Mr Leech added.

While it might serve as a local history resource centre, he said it would not have been suitable for a museum.

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