Dad's Army museum expands
Thetford has received a tourism boost with the opening of a refurbished, extended tribute to Walmington-on-Sea Home Guard.The Dad's Army Museum was opened by writer David Croft 18 months ago as a lasting reminder of the hugely popular BBC Television sitcom's links with the area.
Thetford has received a tourism boost with the opening of a refurbished, extended tribute to Walmington-on-Sea Home Guard.
The Dad's Army Museum was opened by writer David Croft 18 months ago as a lasting reminder of the hugely popular BBC Television sitcom's links with the area. Now, officials from the attraction are celebrating after completing a major refit and expansion at the museum, housed in Thetford Guildhall.
Hundreds of visitors enjoyed a first peek at the new-look former fire station and council store off Cage Lane over the bank holiday weekend.
The project has been funded by a �10,000 grant from the National Lottery.
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Officers from the Friends of Thetford Dad's Army Museum spoke of their delight at the improvements, which they hope will draw even more fans of the enduring TV, radio, stage and screen comedy hit, set in the second world war.
The lottery funding has enabled the group to double the size of the museum after it secured permission from the town council to take over the neighbouring storeroom. Work began in January to transform the site with new timber flooring and lighting, and to furnish it with more displays, photographs and memorabilia about Dad's Army, which was filmed on location in and around Thetford between 1968 and 1977.
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Last summer, thousands of people descended on the town to mark the 40th anniversary of the series featuring Captain Mainwaring and his band of Home Guard comic characters.
The museum is open every Saturday between 10am and 2pm and has received more than 6,000 visitors since it opened in December 2007.
Corinne Fulford, project manager of the refurbishment scheme, said interest in Dad's Army had risen since the anniversary celebrations. She added: “It is huge. The interest has been there all along and we are tapping into that. The anniversary sharpened the imagination, and people come from all over the country to see us. A lot of people are finding us online, and the tours are going from strength to strength.”
“We have achieved so much in 12 months, but we have so many more ideas and we don't want to stop. We do need to get more volunteers on board, though.”
The Friends group has set its sights on another adjoining building at the Guildhall to create a 1940s-style tea room and is almost half-way to reaching a �20,000 target to put up a Captain Mainwaring statue in Thetford.
More information at www.dadsarmy