Delight as Langham Dome receives Queen's Award for voluntary service
PUBLISHED: 00:00 02 June 2019 | UPDATED: 08:38 02 June 2019
Volunteers and trustees at a north Norfolk visitor attraction have won the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS).
The Friends of Langham Dome community group saved the dome at the disused airfield at RAF Langham, near Wells, and converted it into a popular visitor centre and museum.
Thousands of visitors enjoy the centre and museum each year with the majority of them rating it on social media as excellent, due in no small measure to the friendliness and knowledge of volunteers.
Trustee John Blakeley said: "We are very delighted and immensely proud to receive this acknowledgment for the innovation and all the hard work undertaken to restore the dome to an iconic and unique museum.
"It tells the story of RAF Langham in the Second World War and the Cold War, and also of the secret war-winning invention of the dome's anti-aircraft gunnery trainer.
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"We are equally proud that the dedicated support of our volunteers, without whom we would not exist, allows us to tell this story to thousands of visitors."
The QAVS recognises outstanding work by volunteer groups to benefit their communities, and was created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen's Golden Jubilee.
As part of the award, two of the longest serving volunteers, Christine Halford and John Allan, attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace on May 15.
They also received a signed certificate from The Queen, which will be presented by the Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk later in the year.
They were also given a crystal award with the logo insignia, presented with the certificate, and permission to use the official QAVS logo.
Mr Blakeley added: "Buoyed by this award and supported by our volunteers we are certain that we can continue to retain and improve Langham Dome and the story it tells for future generations, as well as honour the memory of the 152 men that made the ultimate sacrifice at Langham between 1941 and 1953."
RAF Langham Airfield and the Dome Trainer finally closed in 1958. The dome was abandoned and for 50 years fell into decay until in 2010 the Friends of Langham Dome saved it.