A MUSEUM dedicated to aviation memorabilia spanning both world wars is to be opened in the North-East.

Rare items, including uniforms, flying helmets with goggles, flags and models are to be displayed publicly in Dipton, near Stanley in County Durham.

The museum is the idea of former steelworker and salesman Ian Wilson, who lives in the village, and currently sells collectables online to enthusiasts around the world.

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Mr Wilson, 52, a father-of-six, said: “We have got some incredibly rare items.

“We have people walk in and see the collection and their jaws hit the floor. It generates huge excitement.

“People do not expect to see what they see. Obviously, this is the centenary of the outbreak of World War One, but the interest is ongoing for collectors.”

The Museum of Aviation Memorabilia is above the Country Fields cafe on Co-Operative Terrace in Dipton.

It is currently open for pre-arranged visits and will be open to the public this summer.

Mr Wilson was inspired to launch the museum after his granddaughter, Jade Wallace, asked him to give a talk on his passion for aviation to her classmates.

To convert the theatre section of the museum, Mr Wilson needs to raise £100,000 in corporate sponsorship and is hoping interested parties will contact him.

It will be used for dramatic presentations, featuring air raid sirens and dog fight footage, for visiting school, history and community groups.

Mr Wilson said: “I want a classroom of school kids from York to Berwick in here on a daily basis to look around the museum.

“Their little eyes will light up and I want them to go into the theatre and become enveloped in the sound and visuals that we will create for them.”

He is also looking for donations of aviation artefects of historical interest and is keen to hear from volunteers who will acts as guides and guest speakers.

A free open day is being held on Saturday, April 4, from 10am-12noon.

To contact Mr Wilson, email bombphoons@hotmail.com or call 07969-051-573. To find out more about the collection log on to www.bombphoons.com