AN historic war museum has warned it could be forced to close unless it raises thousands of pounds.

Heugh Battery Museum, which is situated on the Headland in Hartlepool, is looking to raise £5,000 so it can keep its doors open and increase its profile so it can eventually rely on money from visitors rather than through funding and donations.

An online JustGiving page has already raised almost half of the amount needed, but residents looking to support the campaign have organised a 16 mile walk to both support the campaign and remember the dozens of people who died in the Hartlepool bombardment during the First World War in 1914.

The Northern Echo:

Organisers hope the walk, between the Tommy statue at Seaham to the Tommy silhouette at the gun battery, will feature 130 people, with each person representing one of the 130 people who died during the attack on Hartlepool.

Each walker will wear a name tag of one of the people that lost their lives.

Back in 1999, with the help of more than 30 volunteers, the regeneration of a derelict site on the ancient Headland of Hartlepool was undertaken to preserve and restore what was left of the only First World War battlefield in the UK.

Early work to create the Heugh Battery Museum was well supported by the National Lottery and many other funders. However, in recent times, funding has been harder to secure and the Museum has worked hard to try to be self-sufficient, with school visits, weekend visitors and donations keeping the doors open.

The Northern Echo:

Diane Stephens, manager of the museum, said: "Sadly, the goodwill of our volunteers and visitors is not enough. To enable the Heugh Battery Museum to survive, grow and have a future, we need help.

"Any donation you give will help keep the museum, its artefacts, its archives and the grounds open and accessible for generations to come.

"Younger generations no longer have the privilege of meeting witnesses of distant conflict face to face. Without a first hand narrative, this period of history risks becoming more and more obscure, and the museum's role of transmission of experience from our elders is vital."

Stephen Picton, who is helping to organise the walk, said: "We heard from the museum that if they didn't raise £5,000 they were going to close, so we wanted to raise the money and also raise the profile of the museum, that is just as important.

"People don't have to come and do the whole walk – 16 miles can sound daunting. Mike Hill MP will be joining us and Ben Houchen is also going to be there for the start of it.

"The first soldier to die on British soil was in Hartlepool so we need to keep his memory alive for future generations to know the sacrifice that Hartlepool gave on that day."

For more information about the walk, which will take place on Saturday, May 19, search Save Hartlepool Heugh Gun Battery on Facebook. Registration costs £5 and anyone signing up will be given a sponsor form. Families and children are all welcome.

To donate directly to the museum, visit