The charity behind a planned Doncaster Victoria Cross Museum hopes to be up and running by Armistice Day.
The Victoria Cross Trust has now moved into the site it has earmarked for the museum, and has started the work to fit it out as a national museum which they hope will attract visitors from all over the UK and beyond.
A first public opening took place on Monday with a candle lit to mark the start of World War One 100 years ago, with a number of public figures invited.
Charity chairman Gary Stapleton said talks were ongoing to get more items for the museum’s collection, which already contains a memorabilia relating to several Victoria Cross winners, including Afghanistan hero Lance Corporal James Ashworth, who was killed as he crawled forward under heavy fire to throw his last grenade at a Taliban fighter who had the rest of his team pinned down.
Talks are ongoing to try to obtain a number of tanks for the site.
The scheme has backing from Doncaster Council, which owns the former Nexus Centre, on Balby’s Cedar Road where the trust is opening the museum.
It also has backing from the wider community, with offenders carrying out some of the work to bring the site up to scratch through the restorative justice programme.
A cafe is due to open at the site in the near future which will be open to the public before the museum is up and running.
Mr Stapleton said: “When we open will depend on what sort of support we get. We are still building the collection and have some items coming in from regimental museums. There are items coming in all the time. We will certainly be open in the next 12 months, if not before. Our aspiration is to be open by November 11, Armistice Day, when World War One ended.
“We are now working very closely with Doncaster Council, and they have been very supportive. Coun Bob Johnson is now a patron of the charity.”
Coun Johnson is cabinet member for regeneration and growth, tourism, culture, leisure and council veterans champion.