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Normal Topic ADRM, RRH Neatishead – Friends Day - Sat 19 September 2015 (Read 665 times)
Dave Lowry
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Location: Kettering
ADRM, RRH Neatishead – Friends Day - Sat 19 September 2015
24.09.2015 at 19:57:26
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I attended the ADRM Friends Day as the FCA Museums Liaison Member, a ‘Friend’ and as a newly appointed Trustee. As the Manager, Beth Condie, and a number of Board of Trustees are new, its organisation and attendance was a first for most of us, sort of ‘suck it and see’. I believe I can safely say it was a success. I base this on keeping my ears flapping and listening to the comments of our long term Friends.

We gathered at around 1030 in the Crumbs Café. The anticipated attendance was about 30 but the actual numbers were almost 60, very heartening. The chat, or craic, as the Irish would say, was excellent. Shortly afterwards we adjourned to the ‘Cold War Room’, the Ops Room to ‘Oldies’ such as myself. It was the largest area for our considerable number to collect. We were welcomed by Sir John Allison. He’s our Patron and also acting as our Chairman at the moment.  This was followed by Pat Carter, another new Trustee, informing us about the current situation of the ADRM and outlining some ideas for the way forward. I also introduced myself as a new Trustee and a committee member of the FCA. Beth then outlined the status from the Manager’s view point.  In brief, the ADRM is sound from both a visitor attraction and  commercial point of view but needs evolution and development to survive into the future. The current success would not have been possible without the hard work of the loyal band of local volunteers and the previous Management and Trustees setting us on a sound foundation. We cannot, however, be complacent.

An interesting revenue-generating initiative which Beth had brought in recently was visits from paranormal groups investigating activity during the hours of darkness.  Her creativity and thinking ‘outside the box’ impressed us. When she said they claimed to have found positive results I don’t think I was the only one who felt a shiver down the back of my neck.

After the briefings in the Cold War Room we were all free to wander around the Museum. Reminiscence was heavy in the air. It occurred to me that, amongst the Friends, we had a rich vein of first hand knowledge of the Cold War era at RAF Neatishead and elsewhere. This would be a useful resource for any future research on the history of our Specialisation.

Bit by bit we drifted back into the Crumbs Café to continue the chat and have tea and cakes. I was pleasantly surprised to be served my tea by Vicky Cooper, another new Trustee, working hard in the Crumbs kitchen with the other volunteers. We also had a raffle at which I performed at my usual high level with a score of absolute zero. It did, however, raise a useful sum for the Museum’s funds.

Currently, the main managerial activity is preparing the paperwork for renewing the Accreditation as a museum. This falls heavily on the shoulders of Beth. I’ve seen the requirements for inventory, procedures, safety etc and they are considerable. They reminded me very much of ISO 9000, Prince2 and IiP from my management consultancy and training days; quite a task.

The Museum closes for the winter months. During this time the Trustees will be very much involved in planning for the new season. This will encompass changes to the entrance to make it more effective procedurally and attractive to visitors, possible changes to the way tours are operated and ideas to make the displays more interactive. As presently organized, the tours put a very heavy work burden on the volunteers which could possibly be alleviated with no loss of value to the visitor. While there will be some changes to the buildings, the intention is to maintain the look and atmosphere of the operational SOC/CRC. We have to keep in mind we are attracting, and hopefully informing, the holidaying general public, not just our informed selves. We know what the equipment is, what it did and why it did it. The general visitors do not necessarily have this knowledge but must enjoy themselves, of all ages, and tell their friends when they get home. We also intend to bring the Museum Friends more into the action and I will be active in this role.

All in all, I think the ADRM is a very valuable asset to the UK as a whole. It is not solely aimed at the Fighter Controller’s Specialisation but takes in all the relevant buildings, technology etc. I firmly believe that an active liaison between the ADRM and the FCA is to the benefit of both organisations.

To put the icing on the cake of a successful day, a Friend approached me and said the event had made him feel more like he belonged. His comment made my day. It’s a compliment to Beth and Pat who set it up.

Why not sign up as a Friend if you have not already done so  Smiley

Dave Lowry
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