Mail-backed Heugh Battery appeal going great guns as actor Tim Healy sends his support

An appeal to save a piece of Hartlepool’s history is going great guns and has even gained support from a North East celebrity.

Tuesday, 16th April 2019, 06:00 am
Updated Monday, 15th April 2019, 14:14 pm
Heugh Gun Battery manager Diane Stephens

The Headland’s Heugh Battery Museum which defended the town during the 1914 bombardment of Hartlepool needs to raise at least £5,000 soon in order to stay open.

The Mail is backing their efforts through our Battery Charge Campaign.

Left to right: Ian Cawley, Stephen Picton and Councillor Dave Hunter at the Heugh Battery Museum.

Museum bosses say they have been blown away by the level of support shown for the important site since the launch of the appeal.

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And Geordie actor Tim Healy has sent a message of support to the organisers of a 16-mile sponsored walk for the battery.

Museum manager Diane Stephens said: “We are absolutely blown away by the amount of support and generosity we have had, particularly from other groups and individuals.

“We have had some sizeable donations including one of over £1,000 from one person.

DJ Paul 'Goffy' Gough with Tim Healy at an eveing with show in Middlesbrough

“It shows just how much people do care about the museum.

“By the end of May we would like to have reached our target.”

The museum is also staging a series of events to help boost visitor numbers.

On Sunday, around 70 people visited the site to see a replica World War One aeroplane provided by Washington’s North East Land, Sea and Air Museum.

Heugh Battery Museum at the Headland in Hartlepool. Picture by Jane Coltman

And this Saturday, they will welcome an impressive display of military vehicles.

Diane added: “On Sunday we had a massive upturn in visitors even though the weather was quite chilly.

“If we could keep up that level of visitors through the door we wouldn’t need to do any fundraising activities.”

Diane also thanked the Mail for our Battery Charge campaign support.

She said: “I cannot thank the Mail enough for the amount of publicity and coverage.

“We wouldn’t have had the reach and response from the public that we have had.”

An online fundraising page where people have been giving currently stands at just under £2,500.

A number of local businesses have collecting tins for the appeal including Judith’s Fruiterers on Northgate, McColls on the Headland, and the Mill House Inn, in Rium Terrace.

It is 20 years since the battery was brought back to life by volunteers as a living museum allowing people to stand in the exact place where soldiers fired on German warships that shelled the town early during the First World War.

It has the distinction of being the only World War One battlefield in the UK.

To donate to the appeal visit the Heugh Battery Museum Appeal at www.justgiving.comCheques can also be made out to The Heugh Gun Battery Trust Ltd.

A sponsored walk in aid of the battery appeal has been given a boost with a good luck message from actor Tim Healy.

The star of Auf Wiedersehen Pet and Benidorm sent his best wishes to the organisers of the 16-mile Tommy 2 Tommy walk taking place on Sunday, May 19.

The walk from Seaham’s Tommy statue to a Tommy silhouette at the Heugh Battery Museum is the idea of Hartlepool taxi driver Stephen ‘Taffy’ Picton, Councillor Dave Hunter and Burbank Community Centre manager Ian Cawley.

The message to Stephen from Tim was recorded by BBC Tees DJ Paul ‘Goffy’ Gough.

In it Tim says: “Good luck with the Tommy 2 Tommy Walk; what a fantastic thing that is.

“We should all think about history and the past and what a great charity you are doing it [for].

“My love and respect goes to everybody doing the Tommy 2 Tommy Walk.”

A delighted Stephen said: “I’m absolutely over the moon, especially to get a North East celebrity like Tim Healy getting behind what we are doing it speaks volumes.”

Paul Gough said Tim has a special affinity for Hartlepool having worked in the clubs in the 1970s before finding fame on TV.

He said: “He has a real passion for North East heritage and history.

“I showed him stuff online about the walk and he was happy to get on board and offer some support.”

Around 70 people have signed up so far for the walk. But organisers are aiming to get 130 to represent each person killed during the bombardment on December 16, 1914.

Stephen said: “Each one of those 130 will be given a name tag and will be walking in memory of that person.”

People of all ages including whole families have signed up to take part.

And so has Karl Mann who broke his neck while playing rugby in Hartlepool last year.

Sponsor forms are available from Pools Surplus shop, Park Road; Burbank Community Centre; Lilyannes cafe in Victoria Road; the Heugh Battery Museum, and from Dave Hunter, Ian Cawley and Stephen Picton.