A FUNDRAISING project to help restore Tangmere Tower is now underway.
In line with the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force, a dedicated project team has registered a community interest company in order to launch the first phase of crowdfunding, in an attempt to restore the tower.
The control tower is one of the last remaining structures of RAF Tangmere left in the village, since the closure of the base in 1970.
It was awarded Grade II-listed status in 2011 and was placed on the heritage-at-risk register in 2015 by Chichester District Council.
Cllr Matt Gover-Wren, of Tangmere Parish Council, said: “We’re making wonderful progress. It’s humbling to see so much enthusiasm and passion for this project.
“It is almost 50 years since RAF Tangmere closed.
“The centenary seemed the right time to start this fundraising process, given the tower’s prominence in RAF Tangmere’s history. After all, it was the beacon that guided our men and women home.”
This first phase of fundraising is limited to £10,000, which is needed to secure the site and build funds to help facilitate a conservation architect and building survey. This will determine the current state of the building as well as floor plans.
Further rounds of fundraising for the more advanced stages of the project will follow, ultimately leading to a bid of heritage lottery funding through a partnership consortium – which includes Tangmere Military Aviation
Museum, the University of Chichester and the Tangmere Local History Group.
The tower’s restoration campaign has gained the support of Chichester MP Gillian Keegan, renowned historian Paul Reed and TV’s very own ‘history guy’ Dan Snow, pictured left, who recently promoted the cause via his social media accounts.
Dudley Hooley, a director of Tangmere Military Aviation Museum, and Professor Hugo Frey, the head of department of history and politics, pictured above, have played vital roles in providing this evidence.
Mr Dudley said: “We in the museum have expressed our interest and support for the project. In particular, by way of providing expertise to restore and renovate the former Visual Control Room on the top floor of the building.”
The tower was re-built in 1944 in time for D-Day, controlling a number of local airfields. The original control tower was destroyed in the German attack of 16 August 1940, where 13 people were killed.
You can follow the campaign on Twitter at @Tangmeretower and Facebook via Save Tangmere Tower.
If you’d like to get in touch with your own Tangmere Tower memories or stories, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.