AFTER years of waiting, a museum will be opening its doors in the new year.
Trustees of the Hovercraft Museum, in Lee-on-the-Solent, are excited to finally show off their collection to visitors.
The attraction has been revamped after the hangars started leaking and needed repairing.
But after a long wait, the site will be opened on January 2.
Warwick Jacobs, one of the trustees, said: ‘This has been a long wait for us.
‘At long last we can show off our collection properly.
We want to put Gosport on the map with the opening of this museum.Warwick Jacobs
‘We want to put Gosport on the map with the opening of this museum.
‘We had to wait three years while the buildings were being worked on and the collection has suffered from being outside.’
The museum, which is part of the Daedalus site, is the only hovercraft museum in the world and has vessels from a range of countries.
They include crafts from Germany, Canada and one from the James Bond film Die Another Day.
The museum also has an extensive library with archived material from 1955 including manuals, magazines, log books and patents.
While the hangars were being fixed, the hovercrafts were also being patched up.
Air engineering technicians from HMS Sultan helped with the repairs.
The group helped restore skirts to several of the hovercrafts, including the first production hovercraft in the world, the SRN5.
Mr Jacobs added: ‘We have been doing a lot of work on the collection and it is exciting for us because this is the first opportunity we have had to show it off.
‘It has been frustrating but we are glad to have the opportunity now to showcase it.
‘We started the collection in 1986 so it has taken almost half my life to get this point where we can share it.’
Ward councillor John Beavis said he was pleased to see the museum finally opening.
‘It is the only one of its kind and we are really pleased that it is in Lee-on-the-Solent,’ he said.
‘Clearly with Daedalus we have got to look at the location of it, but we are confident in Gosport that it will remain where it is.
‘I think it is wonderful for both the museum and all the enthusiasts around the world.’
The museum will be open every Saturday of the year, whereas at the moment it is only available by appointment.
Anyone interested in volunteering for the museum is encouraged to get in touch with the trustees on (023) 9255 2090.
For more information visit the website at hovercraft-museum.org