THE new minister for Portsmouth has pledged to do what he can to get funding for the transformation of the D-Day Museum.
Mark Francois visited the museum in Southsea on Saturday as a part of the 71st anniversary of the Second World War invasion which partly embarked from Portsmouth.
‘I am going to talk to Andrew Whitmarsh (development officer at the museum) to see if there is anything I can do to get funding for the project,’ said the former armed forces minister.
It comes as the museum is bidding for further support from the Heritage Lottery Fund for its £4.1m project to renew the museum ahead of D-Day 75, in 2019.
Dr Jane Mee, head of museums and visitor services for Portsmouth City Council said: ‘It would be marvellous if we could get some funding from the government but any form of funding is welcome.’
The attraction initially received £224,000 last year start the project.
As a part of the commemorations Mr Francois visited the D-Day museum to see the work they do.
To highlight his trip he was shown the museum magnificent centrepiece – the Overlord Embroidery.
‘My father was in a minesweeper on D-Day so it was brilliant to see part of the tapestry was devoted to those that carried out that task,’ said Mr Francois.
The tour gave Mr Francois the chance to meet veterans at the museum.
I am going to see if there is anything I can do to get funding for the projectMark Francois
The minister met and talked to John Jenkins, 95, from Eastern Road, Portsmouth.
‘John was talking to me about when he was in training in the army in Essex and how flat it was. It was nice to talk to him about where I am from,’ said Mr Francois.
John said: ‘I quite enjoyed meeting the minister, we were talking about when I was in training.’
Mr Francois then went on to join service personnel, now in their late 80s and 90s at the D-Day Stone, Southsea to mark the 71st anniversary. Mr Francois said: ‘I was very pleased to be at the service.’
During the memorial service, led by Reverend Canon Peter Leonard, Mr Francois laid a wreath along with Lord Mayor Frank Jonas, veterans and armed forces representatives.
‘It was very poignant for me to lay a wreath at the service as my father took part in the D-Day landings,’ said Mr Francois.
Mr Francois told The News that the city will be seeing him visit a lot more.