D-Day memories will live on thanks to new funding

The D-Day Museum on Southsea seafront ''Picture: Malcolm Wells ( 123505-5524)
The D-Day Museum on Southsea seafront ''Picture: Malcolm Wells ( 123505-5524)
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BRITAIN’S only museum dedicated solely to commemorating D-Day has been awarded a five-figure sum to ensure its legacy continues.

The D-Day museum in Southsea has been granted £90,000 by the Arts Council England to spread the word about the attraction to young people.

The museum will work with the Pompey in the Community charity’s Respect programme to spread the message as far and as wide as possible.

The project will start in April and run for a year. It also includes money to pay for an apprentice to assist the Respect programme’s team.

The programme’s Julian Wadsworth said: ‘Wherever there are events for young people we will be there, engaging with them, talking to them about the museum and encouraging them to come along.

‘We will be able to have an apprentice who will assist Holly Saunders, who will become the arts co-ordinator for the Respect programme and who will be in charge of delivering the museum’s outreach programme.’

The idea is to find out what would encourage more young people to visit the museum in order to ensure D-Day is never forgotten.

Cllr Lee Hunt, who is responsible for culture, leisure and sport at Portsmouth City Council, said the funding was vital in ensuring D-Day is never forgotten, especially as its 70th anniversary is next year.

He said: ‘The Prime Minister has said he wants the First World War remembered, and this is the same for D-Day in the Second World War.’

The funding success comes as the council is preparing to resubmit a bid to the Heritage Lottery for a £3m grant to revamp the museum.

It follows a £150,000 grant to redo the front of the building, but now the council hopes to refresh the rest of the building, as reported in The News.

The museum is working with veterans’ organisations on how the museum should look following the work, and will resubmit its bid in June.

The council will not find out the result until September – just six months before the 70th anniversary of D-Day, on June 6, 2014.

Cllr Hunt added: ‘We were asked to resubmit the bid and to tweak various parts of it, but we are confident we will be successful.’

In the meantime, Alan Davey, Arts Council England chief executive, said the £90,000 grant for the D-Day Museum makes up an £18m fund for small and medium museum.

He added: ‘These projects will really help these museums to grow their appeal and to become more sustainable.’