Members of the public are being called on to help save a prototype tank that played a critical role in the UK’s military heritage.
The Norfolk Tank Museum has launched a £60,000 GoFundMe project to acquire a prototype Challenger 1 tank with the aim of restoring it to full running order.
Currently sitting in a sales yard, this is the first Challenger prototype tank built.
Designed and built at the Royal Ordnance Factory, Leeds, it was used as the test-bed for the development of all Challenger tanks.
Later, it was used as a static target on live-firing ranges before being purchased by a military dealer.
Restoration will take up to three years and will involve totally stripping down the tank so as to bring it back to full operational working condition.
Visitors to the museum will able to see the restoration process and talk to the people undertaking it.
The Norfolk Tank Museum is known for its restoration projects, providing unique educational opportunities. Among the team of skilled volunteers are young people working towards their Duke of Edinburgh Youth Achievement Award.
Once fully restored, the Challenger 1 Prototype will take centre stage in a main battle tank display, with Centurion and Chieftain tanks on either side.
The Challenger 1 Prototype fits perfectly with the Norfolk Tank Museum’s collection, filling an important gap. It will enable visitors to get a hands-on perspective of tank development from World War One through to the end of the Cold War.
The Museum’s collection already includes a Centurion AVRE, Chieftain Main Battle Tank and Deborah II – a replica MK IV tank built at the museum as part of the Channel 4 film documentary: Guy Martin’s World War One Tank.
Stephen MacHaye, chairman of the Board of Trustees at the Norfolk Tank Museum, said: “We need to save this tank, it is part of our heritage. It deserves to be in a museum enabling people to see it, and experience it. We can provide the home it needs and the expertise to restore it. It offers a great educational opportunity for young people to acquire engineering skills, whilst learning to preserve and appreciate the past.”
Anyone wanting to make a donation should visit: https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-ntm-rescue-the-challenger-1-prototype. “