DOZENS of people who campaigned to keep one of the region’s museums open are planning an event to commemorate the first anniversary of the closure.
The Durham Light Infantry (DLI) museum, in Durham, closed at the end of last March amid protests by veterans and supporters, with most of the collection moved to a facility near Spennymoor.
The group, which has named itself The Faithful Durhams, is still hoping a museum dedicated to the regiment will be reopened.
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Members are planning to lay flowers outside the former museum at Aykley Heads at an event at 12noon tomorrow (Saturday, April 1).
Organiser Diane Inglis said: “This museum stood not only as a mark of respect to the people who fought and died fighting for the freedom we all enjoy today, but also as a monument to ensure we never forget the tragedy of war.
“The Labour councillors who voted to close it have totally disregarded our county heritage and shown total disrespect to the families of brave servicemen who have had their ashes scattered here”.
Durham County Council’s cabinet voted to close the museum in October 2015.
Since the museum closed, the majority of the collection has been housed at a specialist facility in Sevenhills, near Spennymoor, where it can be seen by appointment, while the medal collection is on loan to Durham University.
It is kept at Palace Green Library, which is also home to a free exhibition about the history of the regiment.
Mrs Inglis added: “We want the collection all under one roof, the way it should be. We just can’t understand why the most expensive part of the collection – the medals – have gone to the university.”
Stephen Howell, Durham County Council’s head of culture and sport, said: “It is not true to suggest the collection has been split across several sites: it is stored in its entirety at the DLI Research and Study Centre at Sevenhills. The DLI Collection archives remain, as they have since 1998, at Durham County Record Office.
“The combination of the facility at Sevenhills, the archives at the record office, the DLI Collection Gallery - Courage, Comrades, Community and more than 4,000 medals from it, at a central location at Palace Green Library, has allowed us to bring the story of the service and sacrifice of our county’s men, women and families to more people in the last year than was previously possible.”
“This wide-ranging commemorative offer also gives us the chance to showcase some items that have not previously been on public display.”
“Both the Army Museums Ogilby Trust and Arts Council England have been supportive of our approach to managing the collection.”