THE families of two more Victoria Cross winners have spoken out against the closure of the Durham Light Infantry Museum – but an attempt to challenge the decision has been thrown out.

Last month (October), Durham County Council’s cabinet voted to close the Durham City museum and move its military collections to a special facility in Spennymoor, while staging other exhibitions and displays elsewhere.

A campaign to save the museum is gathering strength and has been backed by descendants of Privates Thomas Young and Michael Heaviside, both DLI soldiers who were awarded VCs for service in the First World War.

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Pte Young’s great-great-nephew Grant Young said VC recipients’ families had not been contacted ahead of the decision and he wanted his relative’s medal back.

He said: “We are not happy with what has happened and feel that the heritage and history of the DLI will now fade out and disappear in time.”

Pte Heaviside’s descendant Alan Heaviside said: “The VC was presented to the DLI Museum for permanent display.

“To do this in the run up to the Remembrance Day service is just wrong.”

A descendant of Pte Adam Wakenshaw, a third DLI First World War VC recipient, had already spoken out in protest.

Meanwhile, a bid by opposition councillors to have the closure decision “called in” for further scrutiny has been rejected.

Cllr Joe Armstrong, chair of the council’s overview and scrutiny wing, said he had given the request from Liberal Democrat, Conservative and independent councillors “careful consideration” but the service was being enhanced, not stopped.

However, a special meeting to discuss the issue will be held in early December. Further details will be announced in due course.

Lib Dem Cllr Mark Wilkes, who led the call in request, said the decision was totally unacceptable.

Leaders of the campaign to save the museum will hold their first meeting in Sherburn Workingmen’s Club on Wednesday (November 4) at 7.30pm. An online petition has attracted 6,500 signatures.

Steve Howell, the council’s head of culture and sport, said its new approach would make the DLI collection accessible to many more people and allow the council to tell many more of the regiment’s stories.

He acknowledged the issue was emotive, but added: “We believe that once we are able to reveal more about the exciting plans we have for keeping the story of the DLI alive through short- and long-term exhibitions in the city centre, we can allay many of the concerns raised.”