A VETERANS' memorial bar and museum is appealing for donations, funds and manpower after buying a new premises.

Staff and veterans from The Don - War Memorial bar is in the process of renovating their new building in Thornaby, which is in need of restoration.

Their vision is to transform the large building in Cranworth Street into a veteran hub, bar, museum and area for children and the general public to use and relocate there permanently from their well-known Stockton site.

Julie Cooper, owner of the bar said that staff and veterans who are working on the restoration of the new building were having problems getting funding, after being let down in the past.

Julie and the team at The Don bar have already raised funds from actress Joanna Lumley and Strictly Come Dancing’s Aljaž Skorjanec, which have went towards installing bathrooms and other alterations. The team are also looking at installing a lift giving access to the upstairs area which will have a bar in place.

Julie has also received a £65,000 fund from the Impetus Environmental Trust an agricultural service in Thornaby – which will fund the upstairs area of the hub.

The bar has also had support from Matt Vickers MP for Stockton South, whose family owns a construction business.

The renovation will see an underfloor display being built to look like the trenches with memorabilia, as well as all keepsakes currently in the bar in Stockton being taken over to the new premises. This includes the famous ceiling of poppies.

There will also be a room for veterans to stay over. Julie’s vision is for eventually the veterans to run the museum themselves.

Staff have also come across issues with vandals in the new building – with windows being smashed.

Julie said: “The bar is often the first port of call for a lot of people. We’ve had young lads come into the bar and burst into tears.”

Thomas Trotter who was at the D-Day landings in 1944 is a regular at the bar and it’s oldest customer at 99-years-old.

As well as running the bar for veterans, Julie also invites children to visit and learn about World War One and Two and have a look at the memorabilia.

They also help the homeless and donate food and clothes.

The museum and bar has been running for eight years and Julie and the team moved into the new premises in May last year.

To donate funds, manpower or memorabilia contact Julie on 07999-439064.