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Helicopter museum plans at Shotton Airfield ready for lift-off
.Director Duncan Moyes (front) and project development manager James Hargrave from Durham Helicopter Museum attend the event at Shotton Community Centre
PLANS have been unveiled for a North-East helicopter museum combined with a ground-breaking venture in the rehabilitation of disabled former armed forces personnel.
The proposals, revealed at community consultation event at the Shotton community Centre, in Shotton Colliery, in east Durham, today (Monday, October 21) is the brainchild of retired Army Air Corps engineer Duncan Moyse.
The building envisaged at the Shotton Airfield, next to the Peterlee Parachute Centre, has been was designed by Durham-based architects, Ashdown Architects.
The museum has already acquired several helicopters, including the actual Bell 47 Westland Sioux featured in the MASH TV series.
Museum trustee Madeleine Ashdown said: “This will be a groundbreaking venture in the field of rehabilitation for disabled former armed forces personel, injured on active service.
“Veterans will undertake training programmes specially tailored to build skills and confidence to help them get back to work.
“Bespoke aircraft engineering courses are being developed with the help of Hartlepool Aviation Academy, and students will work in the state-of-the-art maintenance workshop.”
Ms Ashdown said the purpose-built museum had already attracted significant interest from helicopter companies offering contracts for servicing, maintenance and dismantling of obsolete machines.
She said: “These operations will assure the economic sustainability of the project. Volunteer placements will also be available for workers to run the museum.
“The Museum will develop an important collection of historic helicopters, many of which would rust away and disintegrate if not given a home and lovingly restored.”
The collection will provide material for teaching packages designed to tie in with schools' Key Stages curricula, and offer hands-on opportunities to learn about aviation history, science and engineering.
Ms Ashdown said: “This is first and foremost a community-based project, and has been welcomed by the people of Shotton Colliery and east Durham.
“Museum trustees hope that the local community will be keen to engage with the project, and that inward investment from spin-off enterprise will benefit the local economy and encourage creation of new jobs.”
Designs for submission of a full planning application are ready, and can be viewed on www.facebook.com/durhamhelicoptermuseum or www.ashdownarchitects.co.uk.
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