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Plans for heritage centre on former RAF Coltishall site progressing well

Mervyn Cousens from the RAF Coltishall Heritage Trust. 

Pictured: MARK BULLIMORE

Mervyn Cousens from the RAF Coltishall Heritage Trust. Pictured: MARK BULLIMORE

Archant Norfolk 2016

Plans for a heritage centre on the former RAF Coltishall site have moved a step closer, with a crowdfunding campaign progressing well.

The RAF Station Coltishall Heritage Trust, which was formed in 2015, began the crowdfunding exercise to raise the initial funds needed to get its plans in motion, but also to gauge support.

A target of £6000 was set and almost half the amount, nearly £3,000, has already been raised.

Trust chairman Mervyn Cousens said: “With the support of MPs Norman Lamb and Keith Simpson as well as many local people and ex-station personnel, the initial sum will be used to qualify the trust for charitable status and prime the pump to draw in other funding from a variety of sources.”

The trust also has the enthusiastic support of its patron, Air Marshall Sir Christopher Harper, a former Jaguar squadron commander and station commander at RAF Coltishall.

The trust is also working in partnership with the Spirit of Coltishall Association, the custodian of the main RAF Coltishall collection at the Radar Museum, Neatishead and the Norfolk Fire Service Museum, which it is planned will share some facilities.

A temporary heritage room has already been established on the site housing the private collection belonging to Mick Jennings, a former station community relations officer and ex-warrant officer.

With the establishment of a heritage centre, the intention is to provide display areas for exhibits, conference and classroom facilities for community use as well as catering facilities for visitors. The education facilities will be a key element in presenting the history and heritage of RAF Coltishall and in attracting funding.

For 66 years, RAF Coltishall played a vital part in the defence of the realm as a Battle of Britain station that stayed a fighter base throughout its life. Even today, nearly 10 years after the station closed, people still think of the base with fondness and pride.

The former RAF Coltishall site is now called Scottow Enterprise Park and is owned by Norfolk County Council.

To find out more details and how to donate, visit the crowdfunding site at www.crowdfunder.co.uk/raf-coltishall-heritage-centre.

How are you preserving part of Norfolk’s heritage? Email david.bale2@archant.co.uk

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