"OPERATION RESTORATION" is the International fundraising campaign run by the volunteer Management Committee at the Control Tower Museum Bassingbourn, supported by their US counterparts, the volunteer Board Members of the 91st Bomb Group Memorial Association, to raise the £250,000.00 needed to fully restore, preserve and protect the Control Tower building.
WHERE IT ALL BEGAN ...
The Control Tower Museum began life as the East Anglian Aviation Society, opened in 1974 by the 91st Bomb Group's war-time Commanding Officer, General Wray. For many years the organisation was fully supported by its Military landlords - the Depot of the Queens Division and laterly the Army Training Regiment Bassingbourn, kept and cared for the control tower building, leaving the then, volunteer committee, free to concentrate on the business of running a Museum with no financial obligations or commitments. Life was simple and carefree then!
TIMES WERE CHANGING ...
In 2011 things changed for the Museum; no longer able to financially support the running and maintenace of the control tower, the Military asked the volunteers to take on a full repairing lease, thus making the organisation responsible for the running, upkeep and maintenace of the control tower and all associated costs. This was a dark day for the volunteers. Faced with the decision whether to "shut up shop" or dig in and keep the Museum open and do all they could to find the funds needed ... the committee accepted the lease.
... AND WHERE WE ARE TODAY
The years since accepting the lease have been chanllenging, the control tower building is deteriorating and the future is uncertain.
At the end of the 2014 season the volunteer committee made the call that the Museum would not open again until such time as the funds could be found to carry out some of the immediately needed repairs to the building.
In 2015 we approached the Heritage lottery Fund but were told that because we have a lease with break-clauses and due to the fact that we do not own the building and because we are located on Crown land, we would not be elligible for Lottery funding.
And now in 2017, the current situation is that we still have the lease in place, which still contains break-clauses; we have been unable to hold fundraising events since 2012 and thus our income has been solely dependant on footfall, general donations, shop sales and memberships, whilst our running costs increase by the year.
"Operation Restoration" is our last hope of offering the Tower
Museum any sort of future .... and we need your help!