The hugely successful WWII event organised last week by the Russian Arctic Convoy Museum Project at Aultbea in Wester Ross, has given a major boost to the fundraising efforts for the ambitious Wester Ross Regeneration plans.
Having attracted over 1200 visitors from far and wide to their events – ranging from the focus on the code breaking breakthrough with Enigma, to 1940’s tea parties and Families Reunions – the Museum Group are thrilled with the support shown both from the local Highlands community and from visitors.
These had travelled to the area from as far afield as Canada, South Africa, the south of England, Wales and Cornwall.
The event was also graced by some very special VIPS – two Convoy Veterans who attended, travelling from Nottingham and from Aberdeen, and two Bletchley Park Wrens, one from Argyll and one from Wester Ross itself.
Museum Project Chairman, Francis Russell, says: ‘We are overwhelmed with the generosity of our supporters, and the distances that they were prepared to travel to be with us during this exciting week.
‘Many stayed for several nights, bringing a much needed boost to the tourism economy of the area, as well as adding considerable donations to our fundraising efforts. Most visitors completed a research survey form for us, which are all being analysed and will provide very important information to us to substantiate the value of the project to the area in economic terms.’
Adding to the success of the week, the Museum group were able to announce their first major sponsorship – from a Russian businessman.
This is being handed over in Glasgow at a ceremony this week – which will include the presence of several Russian Arctic Convoy veterans.
The Museum group are certain that this will lead to further generous sponsorship to enable to plans for the project to come to fruition within the next three years.
The team has already demonstrated in major measure focused and well organised it is. It even secured television coverage from Loch Ewe of the event’s focus on the sinking off the entrance to Loch Ewe of the Liberty ship, SS William H Welch, on 26th February, 1944.
Francis says: ‘We are confident of more sponsorship to follow, and with this hugely successful fundraising WWII Event, our ambitious plans are likely to become a reality more quickly than we anticipated.
‘With such a groundswell of support for the whole subject of the Arctic Convoys, we are also hoping that the petition for a medal for our wonderful Veterans will be finally agreed by the Government. Please, please go to our website now and add you name to the petition.’
Following the success of the 2011 event, the Museum group are planning ‘WWII and the Arctic Convoys event 2013’ – for the same week next year (6th-11th May 2013).
For further information on next years event and – a last plea to do it now while there is time – to sign the petition for a medal for the remaining veterans, go to the Russian Arctic Convoy Museum website here – now. Pease do it.