High-flying hopes for £2m helicopter museum in East Durham

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AMBITIOUS plans for a £2m helicopter museum that will boost tourism and provide rehabilitation for injured ex-services staff have been unveiled.

If given the go-ahead, the ground-breaking Durham Helicopter Museum would be built at Shotton Airfield and would see the restoration of historic helicopters.

As well as providing a resource to train former services personnel, it would also be an invaluable tool for aviation students, in particular working with Hartlepool Avation Academy based at Hartlepool College of Further Education.

It will also provide a drop-in service for wounded ex-military to get help on a range of issues, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Aircraft planned for the site include a Saunders-Roe Skeeter, two Mark 1 AH1 Gazelles, and the Bell 47 Westland Sioux, which featured in the BBC show MASH.

It is the brainchild of ex-Army Air Corps engineer Duncan Moyse, 41, from Ludworth near Thornley, who has 13 pins and a plate in his spine after being injured in Iraq in 2003.

The dad-of-four said: “This is going to help regenerate East Durham.”

The project was well-received during a public consultation event at Shotton Community Centre this week.

The museum is designed by Durham-based Ashdown Architects.

The project’s five trustees are Mr Moyse, Madeleine Ashdown, Amy Ashdown, retired Major Alex Lang and Jim Hargrave.

Designs are ready to be submitted to Durham County Council for full planning permission.

To find out more, visit www.facebook.com/durhamhelicoptermuseum