Battery Charge: Countdown begins to collect cash to save Hartlepool museum’s future

An eight-week deadline looms to save the Heugh Battery Museum - with its visitors and volunteers giving their rallying call urging you to give the Mail’s Battery Charge campaign your support.

Thursday, 21st March 2019, 2:11 pm
Updated Thursday, 21st March 2019, 2:13 pm
Heugh Gun Battery is in need of funds to keep it open.

The £5,000 appeal must be reached within that time frame to ensure the Headland attraction, which honours the role the site played in protecting the town from the 1914 bombardment, continues into the summer.

The museum costs around £3,500 a month to run, but is in desperate need of a cash boost to ensure it can go on and welcome guests in the months to come.

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Director Ralph Keeton, who got involved in 2000 when he came across the site as he worked on a television project, has said the funds are needed within eight weeks.

The appeal currently stands at just more than £1,800.

He said: “We need people to come and visit the site, so you can see what we’ve got, and how important this place is historically and that will give us enough funding when you come through the door to actually keep us going, but also to support us through the Just Giving site is going to give us enough funds to keep us going and manoeuvrable for the next year or so.

Heugh Gun Battery is in need of funds to keep it open.

“It will allow us to maintain the site and give us some funding per month to look after things like staff wages and it’s really about putting it back into the gun battery.

“We’ve had donations coming in from Canada, we’ve got people young and old getting in touch, and it’s been predominantly resources that we’ve been offered, people offering to provide a service, which again, any help is welcome.

“Funding is very difficult to get hold of today, but we don’t require a huge amount of money, but it’s what we need to keep us going.

“The money will help us pay staff wages, and pay for various bits and bobs because it’s a charity.

Richard Keeton, director of the Headland's Heugh Battery Museum, has called on people to add their support to the campaign in whatever way they can.

“There are volunteers, like myself, and we want to save it because it’s such an important site, nationally important, and important part of what happened in World War I.

“We’ve had support from the area and people want to see the site saved.”

Among those to visit it last weekend - when it is open until its new summer hours begin in May - was Lee Pickering, 60, who lives in the Grange Road area of town.

She took along a friend after visiting it recently for the first time when another had come to visit.

Military history enthusiast David Bennett visited the atttraction as a result of hearing about the campaign.

“We were going to visit St Hilda’s but when we got there it wasn’t open, so we came here, and I’m quite embarrassed to say I had never been here before in my life”, she said.

“But now I’m looking to get involved myself.

“The site is amazing.”

Lee is hoping to put her past experience as a guide at the National Museum of the Royal Navy Hartlepool to use as a volunteer.

David Bennett, 48, from Skelton, decided to visit after seeing the Mail’s appeal.

He said: “I’ve never been before, but I’m very big on military history myself and I do a lit of kit building and my grandfather was in the Green Howards.

Stephanie Bailey-Minton, who volunteers at the museum, says it has become an important part of her life.

“I think it’s good and I’ve been meaning to visit for the last few years.

“I hope the campaign’s a success to keep it running.”

Related: Heugh Battery Museum volunteer issues rallying call to support Mail’s Battery Charge CampaignStephanie Bailey-Minton, 50, from the Headland, is among the team of volunteers.

Originally from Canada, she became involved when her daughter Brianna, now 19 and an archeology student at Durham University, wanted to join in.

Stephanie, who works in the cafe, said: “We have a lot of regulars and everybody here is so nice, as everyone is on the Headland, they’re so friendly.

“People bring in their dogs, they love Carole in the kitchen’s cooking and this place has a story to tell.

“The other day we had a kid come in his camouflage and his toy gun and he loved it.

“His father said he’d had the best day. It’s infectious and it’s something that is much needed.”

Ralph is hosting a ghost hunting night from 9pm on Saturday, April 13, to help raise funds and investigate the spirits said to be present on the site, with tickets £25.

To find out more, contact the museum on (01429) 270 746.

It is open from 10am to 4pm at weekends until the end of May, when its summer hours are brought in.