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CHAIRMAN’S REVIEW OF 2013

This was another good year for the Museum. New exhibits included an audio/visual presentation of the Luftwaffe raid on RAF Tangmere on 16 August 1940, a new touch-screen presentation on Bomber Command 1939-45 and a magnificent display of the decorations awarded to No 161 (Special Duties) Squadron pilot James McCairns – most generously donated by his son. Meanwhile, we added Harrier GR3 XV744 to our aircraft collection and were delighted to be granted ownership of replica Spitfire prototype K5054 by the Spitfire Society. We hosted 38 school visits during the year in addition to a large number of visits by aviation groups and gave external presentations to many groups and societies in the local area.

Our main themed event on Sunday, 4th August featured ‘Tangmere’s Tribute to the Record Breakers’ and commemorated those record-breaking flights mounted from RAF Tangmere in the post-war years. A wide variety of associated attractions was supplemented by an excellent audio visual presentation repeated on four occasions during the day. The occasion also provided an ideal opportunity for the launch of our new book, “Tangmere – Famous Royal Air Force Fighter Station” written by the Museum’s Archivist, Dr Reginald Byron, and Curator, David Coxon. A further special event, “Classic Wheels” proved highly successful and will be repeated on an annual basis.

Towards the end of the year our Honorary President, Duncan Simpson, decided to stand down for personal reasons and Air Marshal Sir Dusty Miller KBE accepted an invitation to take up the reins. Duncan continues his association with us as an Honorary Life Vice-President.

Visitor numbers for the year at 27,921 represented a decrease of 5.6% on the figure for 2012. Whilst disappointing, we understand that other local attractions and like museums further afield have also experienced lower visitor attendance during 2013, seemingly a result of the continuing financial constraints being experienced by households.

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