Joy as Heritage Lottery Fund awards Southsea’s D-Day Museum £4m towards transformation plans

From left, 'D-Day Museum development officer Andrew Whitmarsh, Normandy veteran Frank Rosier, D-Day collections researcher James Daly, Normandy veteran Eddie Wallace, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport Cllr Linda Symes, Normandy veteran John Jenkins, Lord Mayor Frank Jonas, and project director of transforming the D-Day Museum Dr Jane Mee

From left, 'D-Day Museum development officer Andrew Whitmarsh, Normandy veteran Frank Rosier, D-Day collections researcher James Daly, Normandy veteran Eddie Wallace, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport Cllr Linda Symes, Normandy veteran John Jenkins, Lord Mayor Frank Jonas, and project director of transforming the D-Day Museum Dr Jane Mee

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CITY leaders are celebrating after the majority of funds needed to redevelop the D-Day Museum into a centre of excellence were secured.

The Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded Portsmouth City Council £4.04m to give the Southsea attraction a major upgrade in time for the 75th anniversary of D-Day in 2019.

We’re in the final straight of our fundraising journey to make the transformation of the museum and our aspirations for the project a reality.

Councillor Linda Symes, Portsmouth Tory culture boss

The total cost of the project is £4.9m, but another £170,000 is still needed to ensure the plans can finally go ahead.

A fundraising drive will be launched in the community to secure the remaining funds.

Councillor Linda Symes, Portsmouth Tory culture boss, praised the news.

Cllr Symes said: ‘We’re delighted to get the news we’ve been anticipating.

‘We’re in the final straight of our fundraising journey to make the transformation of the museum and our aspirations for the project a reality.’

Stuart McLeod, head of HLF South East, said: ‘As we head towards the 75th anniversary, this National Lottery investment will help to refresh and revamp Britain’s only museum dedicated to the landings, helping to bring this story to life for a new generation.’

Should the upgrade go ahead, a ‘legacy gallery’ would be created to tell visitors the story of how the museum’s 83m Overlord Embroidery was made. The embroidery display would be circled by an ‘interactive ribbon’ to provide information on the materials used to create it.

And more of D-Day’s impressive collection associated with the Second World War would also be used to tell the ‘D-Day story’ in a more imaginative way.

The Heritage Lottery Fund’s contribution comes after the chancellor George Osborne awarded the museum £600,000 from a Libor fund pot for military causes.

The council has pledged £350,000, another £50,000 has come from the organisers of Victorious Festival and £16,000 has come from other donations.

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