New home needed for 52 fire engines!

Volunteers at the Museum of RAF Firefighting say they’re worried they might be forced to split up and sell the exhibits if they can’t find a new home.

The museum, in Scunthorpe, has to move out of its current base before 17 December.

The collection of 52 fire engines is thought to be the world’s largest collection of military fire engines. The museum is also home to 4,000 other items of memorabilia.

The owner and founder of the museum is WO Steve Shirley MBE. The roots of the present museum go back some thirty years when he obtained his first model fire engine. He started collecting fire related items as a hobby and hasn’t stopped since.

The collection consists of many photographs and posters, along with models, badges, patches, uniforms, helmets, prints, extinguishers and fire fighting equipment, both military and civilian, ranging from 1868 to the present day.

The museum officially opened in Manston in 1995, later moving to RAF Scampton. The museum collection grew at both these sites, as did the number of volunteers. The museum was dealt a cruel blow in the latter half of 2015 when Scampton’s Station Commander announced that the hangar they were using would be needed for the forthcoming air-show.

Everything was put into storage until a new home was found. In 2017, the collection moved to Gainsborough, with a view to opening again to the public in 2018.  However, that didn’t work out, and the collection had to be moved again. This time to a new storage facility in Scunthorpe supplied by North Lincolnshire Council with a one year lease. That lease ends on 17th December, meaning that a new home for Britain’s only museum focussing on military firefighting is now an urgent need.

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Mary Vickers moved to North East Lincolnshire in 2010, from the Wiltshire/Hampshire border, to become Urban and Industrial Chaplain NELincs. Made redundant in 2017, she's maintained many of her connections within the business, faith, and other local communities. She's also decided to stay here rather than return to either the south or her husband's native Yorkshire, so that she can continue to enjoy and help promote the positives of NELincs.