North Walsham woman unveils legacy at Forncett St Peter tank museum
- Credit: Archant
A terminally ill woman's bucket list wish to improve the experience of visitors at a military museum in Norfolk has become a reality.
Thanks to the fundraising efforts of Alicia Elliott a platform has been installed at the Norfolk Tank Museum at Forncett St Peter, near Long Stratton, to help people to get up close to two battle tanks.
In February Mrs Elliott, who is 77 and from North Walsham, and her family made a specially arranged visit to the museum to help her achieve her dying wish of riding in a tank.
However during that visit Mrs Elliott realised how difficult it was for visitors to get inside a Chieftain tank as it took three people to help get inside the vehicle.
It led to Mrs Elliott and her family starting a fundraising drive to get some steps and a platform to make it earlier for people to get up close to the Chieftain talk and a neighbouring Centurion tank.
And after raising £6,000 so the platform could be built, the structure, called Alicia's Steps, has been unveiled at an emotional ceremony.
There were tears as Mrs Elliott's three children, other relatives and museum staff and volunteers looked on as she officially opened Alicia's Steps with the museum's patron General Lord Richard Dannatt.
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Afterwards Mrs Elliott, who may only have weeks to left to live due to her cancer and had been married to a soldier, said it was a pleasure to be at the ceremony and had thought she would never see the day.
Her daughter Caron Jenner, 55 and from London, gave a speech the praised her mother's determination and fighting spirit.
She said: 'She is an inspirational woman and was determined to be here today.'
There is also a plaque on the platform dedicated to Mrs Elliott which reads: 'In memory of a beautiful and kind lady who never gave up her own battle, Love and Laughter XXX Forever in our Hearts.'
Lord Dannatt said: 'This is a wonderful contribution and addition to the museum. It will transform the accessibility and visitors' experience here.'
In February Mrs Elliott managed to get behind the wheel of a Hagglunds BV206 All Terrain Vehicle at the museum and drive her family on an off-road course.
Museum chairman Stephen MacHaye said everyone at the museum was moved by Mrs Elliott's enthusiasm and determination.