1,400 sign up to save museum

Keith and Sue Porter from the Fleetwood Museum Trust outside the museum
Keith and Sue Porter from the Fleetwood Museum Trust outside the museum

A campaign to try and save Fleetwood Museum has now attracted over 1,400 names on an online petition alone.

There is also a paper petition which is being taken around shops in the town centre.

There would be a huge whole if it was to be lost

The latest battle, almost 10 years after a stirring Save Our Museum campaign helped rescue it before, came after the axe effectively fell last month.

Lancashire County Council said it was no longer able to fund the facility, along with many other services across the county, and funding will come to an end in March next year, at the end of the financial year. So Fleetwood Museum Trust members and volunteers at the Queens Terrace facility have vowed to try save it again.

They see a remote chance that cash-strapped County Hall, which needs to make massive savings, will relent and come offer some kind of reprieve when it ratifies its spending recommendations before March.

But in the event of that not happening, they hope an alternative way of funding it can be found, backed by the support which the petition has generated.

The Museum, on Queens Terrace, plays host to an invaluable collection of photographs and artefacts relating to Fleetwood, including material on the town’s once great fishing industry.

It also houses two old fishing vessels, Harriet and Judy, and has a shop and cafe.

Keith Porter, chairman of Fleetwood Museum Trust, said: “With this petition we hope to demonstrate the sheer level of support there is for Fleetwood Museum.

“It is a tourist attraction, a school education facility with 3,000 children attending each year, a means of offering 200 volunteers in the town a chance to get involved in the town - and crucially - it is a guardian of this town’s heritage.

“There would be a huge hole in the town if it were to be lost.

“We’re all really pleased that the petition has attracted so many names so far but there will be more, because the paper petition will really hit the town centre properly after the New Year,

“Our locals shops say they will support it.”

Another Trust member, Angie Hesketh, said: “We can’t really rely on Lancashire County Council changing its mind, because its financial situation is so bad.

“But what Fleetwood Museum has going for it is the fact that only two members of staff, including manager Lynn Asghar, are paid.

“The rest of the work is carried out by 200 volunteers, so that means it is low cost.

“We are now looking at other ways to lower the costs so it makes it more likely we can keep it open.”

The museum costs are currently paid by Lancashire county Council but the premises are owned by Wyre Council, which leases it to County on a peppercorn rate basis.

Anyone wanting to sign the petition should visit: https://www.change.org/p/lancashire-county-council-save-fleetwood-museum.

Alternatively, paper versions will be in the shops from next week.

In the meantime, Fleetwood Town Council is also looking to save the museum and is shortly to announce the date of extraordinary meeting, to be held around mid January.

The sole item up for discussion will be the possibility that council tax payers in Fleetwood pay extra to help save the facility.