Ron’s 100th birthday wish to raise funds for aircraft museum
PUBLISHED: 13:45 09 November 2020 | UPDATED: 09:15 10 November 2020
A 99-year-old World War Two veteran is raising funds for the country’s oldest aviation museum for his 100th birthday.
Following the second national lockdown, the de Havilland Aircraft Museum faces an uncertain future.
It may be losing all but one of its permanent staff, including the museum’s curator.
This year is the centenary of the de Havilland Aircraft Company – and volunteer steward Ronald Sydney Green, who turns 100 on November 14.
The museum’s oldest volunteer, Ron is dedicating his 100th birthday to fundraising to save the aviation museum at Salisbury Hall.
Instead of presents for his personal centenary, Ron is asking people to support the heritage site, which is based in London Colney where the de Havilland Mosquito was designed 80 years ago.
Ron and his daughter have set up a Facebook fundrasing page, with the money contributed helping to keep the museum staff in employment.
He kick-started the appeal with a generous donation of his own.
The fund currently stands at over £8,750, with more than 270 people from around the world having donated so far.
On his fundraising appeal, the former RAF man wrote: “As many of you will be aware, the 14th November 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of my birth, an anniversary I certainly didn’t expect to reach earlier in the year.
“The year 2020 also happens to be the 100th anniversary of de Havilland, a British company which revolutionised aviation in the 1920s and 30s and whose aircraft played a pivotal role in World War 2.
“People have been asking me what I would like for my birthday. My answer is that I would like to raise public awareness of de Havilland’s contribution to our history – and to raise donations to support the de Havilland Aircraft Museum, Britain’s oldest aviation museum, which is currently facing an extremely uncertain future.”
As an independent museum and registered charity, it is dependent on public donations and visitors.
It is closed until further notice due to Government coronavirus restrictions.
Museum curator Alistair Hodgson said: “It’s no great secret that along with many other local museums, the de Havilland Aircraft Museum is going through tough times at present.
“The trustees have had to make economies by reducing staffing numbers, as there just isn’t the money coming in to pay all five members of the permanent team.”
The de Havilland Aircraft Museum is dedicated to preserving the heritage of the Hatfield-based de Havilland Aircraft Company.
On display are the company’s products and the Salisbury Hall site, off the M25 at Junction 22 for London Colney, is the only place in the world to see three Mosquitos together, including the Prototype.
The museum also boasts the world’s first jet airliner – the Hatfield designed and built Comet.
Explaining the history of the museum on his fundraising page, Ron posted: “On 25th November 1940, the original prototype of the Mosquito, the unarmed wooden bomber, made its maiden flight from Hatfield.
“It had been built and designed at Salisbury Hall, London Colney, the site of the de Havilland Aircraft Museum today.
“At 20mph faster even than the Spitfire, the Mosquito was so quick that nothing came near it.
“That very prototype still stands proudly in the centre of the museum. Along with many other de Havilland exhibits, the museum also houses the only surviving Comet Mk.1 – the world’s first jet airliner.”
Detailing how he became involved in the site, Ron added: “Having served in the RAF throughout WW2 (including qualifying as a pilot on Harvards and a flight engineer on Lancasters), I became a volunteer steward with the museum after my wife, Kath, passed away in 2015.
“I think the name de Havilland has been largely lost in the UK but is still treasured in countries such as Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
“It was only when I became a museum volunteer that I really discovered the innovative nature of de Havilland and its impact on our history.”
The museum is almost entirely staffed through volunteers who act as guides and educators for visitors of all ages, besides restoring the historic aircraft and other exhibits.
Ron said: “There is also a small number of permanent staff who provide critical skills and direction and several of these staff are now at risk of losing their jobs.
“This would be devastating for the future of the museum. Some generous donations have already been made but there is a long way to go.
“I do hope you will consider contributing as a way of celebrating my 100th birthday with me, to preserve the de Havilland heritage for future generations.”
The museum also provides an education and outreach programme that former teacher Ron is passionate about.
Help save the museum by donating to Ron Green’s Facebook fundraiser at https://bit.ly/3eHE5tp
For more on the museum, visit www.dehavillandmuseum.co.uk
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