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MUSEUM VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

Do you have an interest in Second World War or aviation? Then the National Trust at Croome, near Worcester, would love to meet you.

The growing popularity of the RAF Defford Museum, which tells the fascinating story of the airfield that overlapped the 18th century landscape park at Croome, is looking for enthusiastic people who can get involved and volunteer their much-needed time.

“Volunteers are the life-blood of the museum,” said the museum’s curator, Dennis Williams, “and without them we wouldn’t be able to share RAF Defford’s important story with our visitors.”

During the Second World War and the Cold War years that followed, Defford airfield was one of the most secret places in the country. It was here that war-winning airborne radar was tested and evaluated for the RAF and the Fleet Air Arm.

In 1940 part of ‘Capability’ Brown's beautiful landscape park at Croome was requisitioned by the Government for the building of the large airfield. It provided accommodation for over 2,200 service personnel and scientists and was home to 130 aircraft of 25 different types.

After the airfield's closure in 1957, most of the hangars and other buildings were sold, only to be demolished for salvage of materials. By a slim chance the Station Sick Quarters survived and are now used as Croome’s Visitor Centre, but the airfield may have faded into the past but for the efforts of a team of enthusiastic volunteers ensuring that its extraordinary story is not forgotten.

Volunteering opportunities in the museum include stewarding, welcoming and interacting with visitors, and sharing its history. Stewards are needed throughout the week, but particularly at weekends, with flexible hours to suit

“The museum is all about its people – the visitors, the volunteers and those whose lives were lived or lost at Defford,” said Ann Sterry, Museum Steward. “Many visitors have a story to tell about their own experiences. If you enjoy talking to people and having a small window open into their lives for a few moments, you would enjoy volunteering at the museum. It is not essential to be a radar or aviation enthusiast, as the topics that visitors find most interesting are the stories about the wartime experiences of the people who spent time at Defford.”

People who are interested in helping are invited to contact Hayley Burrows by emailing croomevolunteering@nationaltrust.org.uk.

The RAF Defford Museum is open seven days a week from 11.00am to 4.30pm. Admission to the museum is included in the normal admission charge (free to National Trust members).

For more information please call: 01905 371006 or visit the website www.nationaltrust.org.uk/croome