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Last Chance to See Record Breaking RAF Centenary Exhibition

Last Chance to See Record Breaking RAF Centenary Exhibition

Posted on: April 4, 2018

Time is running out to see the Cheltenham Branch of the Royal Air Forces Association’s special Cheltenham Remembers RAF Centenary Exhibition at the Jet Age Museum as the record-breaking interactive display opens its doors for the last time this Saturday and Sunday (21-22 April).

Originated and coordinated by ex RAF Air Secretary and boss of RAF Innsworth, Air Vice Marshal Tony Mason, the exhibition celebrates 100 years of the Royal Air Force and the creation of the aircraft industry in Cheltenham. On show are over 100 exhibits including a ¾ scale SE5a model WW1 fighter plane, a replica airfield workshop, an operational airfield tableau and original RAF flying training posters. Visitors can also enjoy a display from GCHQ of previously top secret cryptographic and other items released for the first time to the local public.

It took two years to organise and has smashed every attendance record for the Gloucestershire Airport based museum since the commemorative exhibition was officially opened on 31 March by the Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire, Dame Janet Trotter.

Funds to put on the exhibition were raised by the organising committee led by Air Marshal Mason and president of the Royal Air Forces Association Cheltenham Branch Air Marshal Sir Dusty Miller, together with trustees and volunteers from the Jet Age Museum. The Cheltenham Branch of the RAFA, organisations and individuals throughout Gloucestershire together with the National Heritage Lottery Fund and Cheltenham Borough Council donated generously to meet the target.

The schools’ education programme for the exhibition was sponsored by the Regent Arcade shopping centre.  The £1,800 sponsorship contributed towards the cost of transport for 250 school children and interactive exhibition equipment for several hundred more on public opening days. Children visiting the exhibition can sit in real aeroplane cockpits, dress up in WW1 uniforms, take part in a wartime navigation exercise and assemble model wooden aeroplanes with mechanics in the exhibition’s field workshop.

The Regent Arcade’s relationship with the Jet Age Museum began in 2015 when the shopping centre loaned its bronze model of a Gloster E28/39 aeroplane to the museum for display and sponsored its schools’ visits programme. Explained Scott Lahive, centre manager of the Regent Arcade: “We know how much children get out of the excellent education programmes run by the Jet Age museum, so when we were asked to support the schools’ activity for the RAF Centenary Exhibition we were only too pleased to help.

“I have been to see the exhibition and was incredibly impressed by the amount of thought, imagination and time that the committee must have put in to make it such an interesting and successful exhibition.”

Commenting on the sponsorship Air Vice Marshal Mason said: “We are extremely grateful to the Regent Arcade. Their generosity and that of so many others has enabled us to deliver a comprehensive and enjoyable exhibition which has attracted a lot of media interest and broken all attendance records at the Jet Age Museum.”

The Cheltenham Remembers RAF Centenary Exhibition is open on Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4pm. Admission is free.

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