THE future of Staffordshire Regiment Museum is under threat and a multi-million pound fund-raising campaign is to be launched to secure it.
The museum at Whittington Barracks, the spiritual home of the regiment, near Lichfield, celebrates and keeps the story of the Staffordshire soldier alive.
But Brigadier Jim Tanner OBE, the Regiment Colonel of the Staffords, 3rd Battalion, Mercian Regiment, who is currently serving in Saudi Arabia, has revealed the museum needs more than £3 million to secure its existence for future generations.
It comes as it also emerged that the Staffords will be deployed to Afghanistan next year for its first tour there. The museum’s trustees are now poised to launch the first phase of a fund-raising campaign to raise £350,000 which it hopes to do from within the regimental family by appealing for financial help from former and serving soldiers, their wives, widows and friends.
A £3 million campaign will be launched at a later date when it will appeal for help from the public and trustees also hope to secure Lottery Heritage funding.
Retired Major Mike Simpkins, Staffordshire Regiment Museum Trustees chair, said: “Whilst Staffordshire Regiment itself no longer exists in name, it remains part of the regular army in the form of 3rd Battalion, The Mercian Regiment (Staffords) and is due to deploy to Afghanistan next year for its first tour there. We believe we have a worthwhile cause.”
Mr Simpkins admitted the museum, which attracts school groups as well as military enthusiasts and former soldiers, has enough funds for its short-term future, but said more was needed to cover long-term running costs and to pursue future plans to “considerably enhance” the existing museum buildings and attractions or to move to a purpose-built site.