A VETERAN’S hub is urgently appealing for manpower and support as it gets ready to move to a new premises.
The Don Bar and War Memorial Museum will be leaving its Stockton base and relocating to Thornaby once its lease runs out.
The hub, which functions as a bar, museum and offers 24-hour support to veterans and military personnel, is decorated floor to ceiling with war memorabilia entrusted to the museum by forces families.
To be able to move all that memorabilia The Don's owner, Julie Cooper, is on a mission to convert the new premises, a disused building near St Patrick’s Church, into a place suitable for purpose.
In the Don's new home, the museum will be found on the second floor and run entirely by volunteers and veterans, while the ground floor will host the bar for forces veterans to come and relax, together with a space to host community events.
Ms Cooper said: “There’s a lot of work to do and we’re struggling.
“We have managed to do some of the light work ourselves thanks to donations and funding.
“We have fixed the roof, put new windows in, but we now need a full rewire in the museum, we need to raise money for an accessible lift to the second floor, as well as new toilets - male, female and wheelchair access.
“We need help with plumbing, bricklayers, plasterers and electricians.
“If I don’t get this done I’m going to find myself with all that precious memorabilia that will either have to go back to families or to a museum.”
Ms Cooper is currently fundraising by selling slats of flooring in the new premises for dedications to those who have served in the armed forces.
If the building work is finished, Ms Cooper intends to single-handedly take down the current decorations and reinstall them again into the new building.
She said: “This place is a calling point for a lot of veterans. It’s something that people need.
“People need to know how important it really is that we finish this.
“This place is a real community hub and hundreds rely on it.”