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Solway Aviation Museum

845. Douglas Kerr
846. David Kirkpatrick

Douglas Kerr and David Kirkpatrick, from Carlisle, have together volunteered over 40 years for the ‘Solway Aviation Museum’, a unique resource celebrating and preserving the aviation heritage of the Lake District.

Douglas had the idea for the project and founded the ‘Solway Aviation Society’, a network which has grown to 60 volunteers who are collectively devoting over 10,000 hours a year to the museum. David was chairman of this society for 13 years before becoming the museum’s procurement director, sourcing all the vital materials to keep the ageing aircraft in pristine condition. The museum is now one of Carlisle’s most important culture and tourism hubs, having fundraised over £100,000 for its operation and attracted over 20,000 visitors.

In a personal letter to Douglas, Prime Minister Theresa May said:

“Through more than 30 years of dedicated service, your volunteering has inspired many others across the Lake District to help preserve their aviation heritage. Together with David, your efforts have transformed the ‘Solway Aviation Museum’ into one of the region’s most important cultural centres, providing an invaluable and unique resource to thousands of visitors.”

Douglas said:

“It was a real surprise and honour to receive the Points of Light award. I’ve been a volunteer at the Society/Museum for 31 years, working my way up to now being the Managing Director. It’s been a great experience over the years, both gaining friends and knowledge. In gaining this award I hope it inspires other people with similar interests to volunteer and come join our society. The museum has grown tremendously over the years but it’s nowhere near the end yet as I hope to make it even better. The Museum is a great tourist attraction for Cumbria, some people come to learn and some come to reminisce. So here’s to the next 31 years, it’s fun, come and join us.”

In a personal letter to David, Prime Minister Theresa May said:

“You should feel very proud of your achievements with Douglas in leading the preservation of historic aircraft at the ‘Solway Aviation Museum’ and encouraging thousands of people to engage with their aviation heritage. As Chairman of the ‘Solway Aviation Society’, your tireless efforts have raised over £100,000 to create a visitor experience with lasting impact.”

David said:

“It was quite a surprise and a honour to be selected for the Points of Light award. I have been volunteering at the ‘Solway Aviation Museum’ since 1991 and I have held various roles within the organisation. I have had the pleasure of working with some very talented people over the years who have come from all walks of life to help in the preservation of our aviation heritage, especially our iconic AVRO Vulcan XJ823, and there are hundreds of people watching our restoration of the Vulcan on Facebook.

Now that I am retired I spend at least three days per week working on the Vulcan restoration programme and the many other duties involved in running the aviation museum. This keeps me very active, as always in a volunteer organisation there is always room for more people to take on various roles and learn new skills at the same time. If anyone would like to join our volunteer team please send us an email to or call 01228 573823.”

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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