MEMBERS of a heritage group are celebrating after receiving a Lottery grant of almost £83,000 to create a new wartime museum on the site of a mansion house near Pershore.
The Defford Airfield Heritage Group and the National Trust at Croome Court are working to restore a secret wartime airbase at the picturesque setting which will honour the efforts of airmen and scientists who worked at the Vale RAF base.
Earlier this year it was announced work was starting on the site, which has stood derelict for decades, following a huge £87,500 grant from the Severn Waste Environmental Fund to help get the restoration project off the ground.
But the group are rejoicing once again after the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded them £82,900 which will see the new museum kitted out with specific items which were used by the airmen and scientists at RAF Defford during the Second World War.
The airfield was the home of where the ideas and inventions of radar scientists from the research establishment in Malvern were developed which helped the country to a famous victory.
The money will also help the project deliver an education programme enabling the story of RAF Defford to be shared with local groups, societies, schools, colleges and universities.
The project will also create a wider range of volunteering roles at Croome to set up and run the museum, carry out historical research and assist with activities.
It is hoped the museum will be open by the end of September this year.
Dr Dennis Williams, the museum’s newly appointed custodian , said: “We’re incredibly pleased that the Heritage Lottery Fund has decided to award our project the funding we need to create a fantastic experience for Croome’s visitors.
“We have been working on the bid this year and it’s been a lot of hard work, but we’re delighted that our efforts have been fruitful.
“The museum will provide a way of engaging people in what the Air Force was really like in wartime Worcestershire and we’re all looking forward to getting the work started.”
Reyahn King, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund West Midlands, added: “This project will give people of all ages the chance to discover the fascinating story of a top secret airfield in the heart of the Worcestershire countryside that played a vital role in winning the World War II.”