Following the grant of £1.5 million to Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome awarded by the Chancellor in his budget and to be taken from Libor fines imposed on the banks, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury Priti Patel MP, recently visited the aerodrome to discuss how the would be used to help fund further restoration.
Ms Patel, MP for Witham, was shown round the site by some of the aerodrome’s Trustees. Acknowledging the importance of preserving this heritage site and the work completed so far by the volunteers she commented: “I am delighted that the grant from the Government will allow the restoration to continue. The aerodrome played a crucial role in defending London and the nation in World War One, and it is fitting that we can help ensure an enduring memory to the sacrifices by the Armed Forces using money from the Libor fines imposed on the banks for wrongdoing.”
Jeremy Lucas, Chairman of the Trustees at the aerodrome added: “We are immensely grateful to have been awarded this grant. It is intended to use the money to fund the construction of a replica WW1 hangar to house exhibits including WW1 era flying aircraft. These will help us provide a much enhanced visitor experience, which is fundamental to the success of a site of such local and national significance.”
Plans for the future also include the establishment of educational and engineering skills programmes. Ms Patel said: “Restoring the aerodrome is not just about preserving the past, but about providing a place for learning and skills development for future generations.”
The restoration of the aerodrome, which is the only surviving intact World War One aerodrome, began in 2008. Russell Savory, Aerodrome Manager said: “This is now the start of a dream becoming reality. Six and a half years ago the hangars were just a vision and a hope. The volunteers have worked tirelessly on the restoration project and we are all overwhelmed with the news that we have this £1.5 million grant to help us achieve our dreams. It has provided a tremendous boost to the volunteers and all those involved with the aerodrome.”