Provost wings way to museum

20120312- Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre. 'Alan Doe (chairman), Dan Paton (curator), Angus Provost Ruth Leslie Melville by the Sopwith Camel. ''"Andy Thompson Photography", '"Copyright Andy Thompson Photography", '"No use without payment", '"www.atimages.com",
20120312- Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre. 'Alan Doe (chairman), Dan Paton (curator), Angus Provost Ruth Leslie Melville by the Sopwith Camel. ''"Andy Thompson Photography", '"Copyright Andy Thompson Photography", '"No use without payment", '"www.atimages.com",

The EFFORTS of a group of volunteers to preserve the town’s aviation heritage were recognised recently by Provost Ruth Leslie Melville.

Mrs Leslie Melville visited Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre as part of a programme of official visits to winners of last year’s Angus Ambassador Awards.

The Provost said she was impressed by the volunteers’ commitment to the centre, which received the culture award, and its educational facilities.

She said: “From the moment I entered Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre I was impressed by the motivation, enthusiasm and knowledge of the volunteers who have created this exciting museum and visitor centre.

“The centre is a very worthy winner of the Angus Ambassador Award for Culture. It is preserving a highly-specialised area of the history of our county which could, so easily, have been lost. I would recommend a visit to anyone, especially if they have youngsters.”

Mrs Leslie Melville was given a tour of the centre, which next year celebrates the air base’s centenary, by curator Daniel Paton and air station trust chairman Alan Doe.

Dr Paton said the museum has four aims: to preserve Montrose’s unique aviation heritage of Montrose, encourage community pride in local heritage, contribute to the local economy by attracting visitors to Angus and to be a valuable educational resource.

He said: “As well as personal recollections, letters and photographs, we have some fascinating artefacts, including a replica Sopwith Camel, the famous fighter aircraft of World War I and genuine examples of the first British jet fighters.

“One American airman who was posted here in 1918 wrote ‘There are crashes every day and funerals every week’. There were hundreds of aircraft crashes in this area. We’ve recently discovered there are six aircraft still in Montrose Basin and, although there are 85 Royal Flying Corps’ graves in Montrose cemeteries, this is only a small minority of those who lost their lives on flights from RFC/RAF Montrose.

“We even have things that no other museum in Scotland has, including an example of the rare and magnificent Battle of Britain lace panel. It is not all about aircraft. Our newly-completed 1940s living room is a hit with visitors of all ages and some of our buildings, which were originally part of the base, are museum pieces themselves.

At the end of the Provost’s visit, Mr Doe stressed how much it had meant to everyone involved for the centre to be awarded the Angus Ambassador Award for Culture.

He said: “It was wonderful to receive such public recognition for our hard work and effort. Next year will be the 100th anniversary of Montrose Air Base - winning an Angus Ambassador Award was a very good way to start the build-up to our centenary celebrations.”

The air station’s new season started on Sunday, April 1, and it is open Wednesday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm until September 30 and on Sundays year-round from 12 noon to 4pm.