COMMENT: It’s time to show your support and get a new Royal Marines Museum built
The Royal Marines are synonomous with Portsmouth. For many years the barracks at Eastney were their home.
So imagine the city not having any sort of museum to honour the unique, 355-year history of the Marines and all those within its ranks who have proudly served their country in conflicts around the globe. It doesn't bear thinking about it, does it? Yet today we reveal how that is a distinct possibility after National Heritage Lottery Fund bosses pulled the plug on a funding bid and put the creation of a new Royal Marines Museum in the Historic Dockyard in jeopardy. Their decision has delayed the museum by at least two years and added £2m to the cost of the project. Now all hopes are pinned on a new, revised £3.9m lottery bid in November, together with the sale next year of the old museum's prime seafront site at Eastney. But if the lottery cash is not forthcoming, the National Museum Of The Royal Navy's director general Dominic Tweddle has spelt out how it could put back the museum for four or five years - or, worst case scenario, lead to it being scrapped completely. The NMRN has already had to scale back its plans, with a hi-tech collections centre put on hold. So we urge those holding the lottery purse-strings to this time approve a grant that will hopefully enable a new museum to be open by late 2021. We believe telling the compelling story of the Royal Marines in a modern way would be an excellent use of cash set aside for heritage projects. As Mr Tweddle says: 'It would be farcical if the Royal Marines - who are such a big part of Portsmouth life - were not represented by a museum.' If you agree with him, then please lobby your MPs and councillors and contact the National Heritage Lottery Fund to show your support. Together, let's make enough noise to get the funding secured and the museum built. Because the Royal Marines deserve nothing less.