Museum military vehicle battered by the elements for years looking 'pristine' thanks to apprentices

A military vehicle at a Hartlepool museum has been given a new lease of life thanks to the efforts of skilled Wearside apprentices.

Thursday, 22nd August 2019, 6:00 am
BAE Systems staff (rear left to right) Nathan Wilkinson, Andrew Hall, Kieron Avis, Lewis Bartlett, James Bain, Josh Grant with Diane Stephens from the Heugh Battery Museum. Front left to right are Mark Rowell and Paul Kelly also from BAE Systems. Picture by Frank Reid.

A Saracen troop carrier that saw service during The Troubles in Northern Ireland and is now part of the Heugh Battery Museum’s impressive collection has been restored.

It is after the Headland museum teamed up with BAE Systems Land UK in Washington who provide products and engineering support for the British Army.

Over two days a team of six BAE Systems apprentices and two members of staff worked on the vehicle which had suffered from being exposed to the harsh elements for seven years.

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Nathan Wilkinson from BAE Systems working on the Saracen. Picture by Frank Reid.

The volunteers have stripped the popular exhibit back, repainted it and made it safe for visitors to go inside.

Heugh Battery Museum manager Diane Stephens said: “It has been on site for at least seven years and had deteriorated quite substantially.

“They have made it pristine for our visitors to see and safe for them to get inside and have their photograph taken.

“It is immeasurable to us; what they have achieved in two days we could never have done that amount of work.”

The volunteers provided all the resources and also made a new information board.

Diane added the apprentices also gained a lot from the experience.

“As far as they are concerned it is a really good learning tool and gives apprentices from different parts of the company the opportunity to work together as a group,” she said.

Les Cooper, site operations manager for BAE Systems Land UK, based in Washington, added: “I am delighted that our apprentices have been given the opportunity to be involved in this project.

“The team, ably led by our Apprentice of the Year, Josh Grant, have stripped back the vehicle, oiled its creaky doors and repainted the exterior. A new board has also been created to provide visitors with key information about the history of the Saracen.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to support a local piece of history and, for our young employees, who are just starting out on their careers, to give something back to the community in which they work and live.”