Museum pays tribute to TV's Dad's Army

Tourism at a Norfolk town is set to get a shot in the arm next week with the opening of a permanent tribute to its links with Dad's Army. A museum featuring second world war items, military paraphernalia, photos and displays of the ever-popular comedy series, which was filmed in and around Thetford, will open its doors to the public next Friday.

Tourism at a Norfolk town is set to get a shot in the arm next week with the opening of a permanent tribute to its links with Dad's Army.

A museum featuring second world war items, military paraphernalia, photos and displays of the ever-popular comedy series, which was filmed in and around Thetford, will open its doors to the public next Friday.

The opening of the new exhibition space at the Guildhall - which was featured in the BBC television show - comes as civic leaders and heritage officials aim to enhance the town's visitor numbers.

The town, which became a second home to the Dad's Army cast and crew between 1968 and 1977, has attracted more than 2,000 tourists over the last two years to see the fictitious Walmington-on-Sea and follow in the footsteps of Captain Mainwaring's Home Guard platoon.

The new display area at the former garage and fire station at the Guildhall complex, off Cage Lane, will now become a pivotal part of Thetford's popular Dad's Army tours, which will feature a replica of Capt Mainwaring's office as well displays on the TV series, Home Guard, Thetford fire service and the town's military connections. It comes after Thetford Town Council invested just under £1,000 to turn the storage room into an exhibition space with a new lick of paint and lighting.

Stuart Wright, town councillor and chairman of the Thetford Society, who has run 30 tours this year, said the museum aimed to "com-plement, not compete" with the Dad's Army displays at Bressingham Steam Museum, near Diss. He added that he hoped the space could also open during town events and on Saturdays, depending on the amount of volunteers that can be recruited.

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"There is still a lot of interest in Dad's Army from around the world and the museum gives extra value to the tours.

"There was nothing to mark Walmington-on-Sea until a little plaque was put up in the Bell Hotel in 2002 and once the Dad's Army trail leaflets and tours were launched in 2004, it has really taken off. The display space is perfect in terms of character," said Mr Wright.

The Dad's Army museum will be open between 12pm and 8pm during the town's Christmas lights switch-on celebrations on December 7. Entry is free.

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