VIDEO: Doncaster war museum plans progress

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A former Doncaster primary school has been lined up as the base for a new museum in the borough.

Talks are being held between Doncaster Council and the Victoria Cross Trust about setting up a planned Victoria Cross museum in the former Nightingale Infant School building in Balby.

The building, on Cedar Road, was used most recently as the Nexus Centre for children who had been excluded from mainstream school.

Doncaster Council said its officers had been in talks with the trust over the plans.

Under the proposals which have been drawn up by the charity, the school would be home to a growing collection of former military equipment and uniforms which have been donated to the organisation, which is based in offices on Nether Hall Road.

Initial talks have suggested the plan would be acceptable in principle, but would require consultation first with the local councillors for the area.

Residents in the past complained about the site’s use as a school for pupils with behavioural problems.

Victoria Cross Trust chairman Gary Stapleton confirmed the talks had been taking place.

He said: “We have been in quite advanced talks, and the council is supportive in principle.

“We have shown them a business plan, we have funding confirmed.”

The trust was set up initially to restore the graves of former Victoria Cross recipients, but the museum plans have been drawn up to run alongside that.

It has not ruled out opening its museum before the 100th anniversary of the start of World War One, which is in August.

The trust has support from a number of high-profile figures. Among the trustees is Duane Ashworth, the father of James Ashworth, the last winner of the Victoria Cross.

He has donated items of his son’s uniform to its collection, which is intended to tell the stories of winners of the medal.

Other items include guns from World War One and World War Two, modern weapons, and other items which belonged to previous Victoria Cross winners.

The trust was also given defused World War One shells by the Belgian army after they were discovered in sites which were formerly battlefields.

If it completes the deal for the school, it would park disused former military vehicles in front of the building as well as creating a memorial garden in the grounds behind the building.

A council spokesman confirmed that talks were being held and said: “We support the trust and its work, and are working closely with them to find a suitable location.”




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