CAMPAIGNERS have called for a regimental collection to be brought together again in “proper display” after learning to their dismay that less than 70 visitors had been to view treasured medals since a museum closed.

The Faithful Durham, who campaigned against the closure of the DLI museum at Aykley Heads in March 2016, spoke out as plans are developed to move restoration and refurbishment of the Grade II-listed Mount Oswald Manor House to bring together archive, heritage and registration services for the county.

Durham County Council closed the museum, which housed historic uniforms, firearms, medals from the regiment, and attracted 39,000 visitors a year, in 2016, moving most of the collection to a specialist facility in Spennymoor.

Faithful Durham secretary Diane Inglis said: “We are outraged at our latest findings, having sent in a Freedom of Information request asking how many visitors had been to view the DLI medals, which are in the hands of the Durham University.

“To our absolute shock, there had been only 68 visitors, of which myself and my husband are two. This is an absolute disgrace. DLI Room at the Library has only had 67,325 visitors since it opened in March 2017."

She added: "The collection was split up, despite county council's and trustees’ word. The medals are out of sight and out of mind, along with most of our regimental history.

“The History Centre at Mount Oswald Manor House is said to be the new home of the DLI collection. At our last meeting with the council and trustees we were told there would be a couple of display cases on a rotary basis dedicated to the DLI.

"This certainly is not what a museum represents. The regiment deserves more. This is a chance to honour the DLI the way it should be, with whole collection coming together and on display."

Alison Clark, the county council's head of culture and tourism, said: “The Durham Light Infantry (DLI) Collection is a treasured part of County Durham’s heritage and we are committed to working with the DLI Trustees to protect it and commemorate the sacrifices its members made. "Since 2016, permanent and annual exhibitions, loans to other accredited collections and major attractions, tours at the DLI Research and Study Centre in Spennymoor and education work with schools have allowed thousands of people to engage with the collection.

“We know there is a strong desire for the collection to be in a single location and the proposed new history centre at Mount Oswald would do just that.

"It would bring together the DLI Collection at Spennymoor with the archives, which are currently in the care of Durham County Record Office, for the first time since the 1990s.

“The history centre would also offer exhibition space to tell the story of Durham’s history, including the DLI as a key part of this, with a programme of exhibitions, activities, events and outreach county-wide.

"Plans for the centre are still being developed based on previous public consultation, and, subject to planning permission being granted, further consultation will begin shortly to encourage people to share ideas to help shape the centre’s exhibitions and events programme.”