Open days at Cuckfield. So how did this year go?

So, its more or less then end of the summer and the end of another great year of open days at Cuckfield Royal Observer Corps bunker. This has been our best year so far. We had over 250 visitors spread over 3 open weekends. The furthest visitor was from Spain, and the oldest visitor was 89 (she went up and down the ladder unaided and was genuinely a joy to meet). Most visitors were individuals and families but other visitors this year included the Mens group from St Wilfreds Church, who visited us twice, and the Lads from Haywards Heath Fire Station who came down for a morning visit. We also raised a small amount of money, more of that later!

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Thanks and shout-outs

Opening the bunker for visits is hard work and takes much behind the scenes effort and we wouldn’t be able to do it without the help of a number of people or organisations, you have our thanks and gratitude. If we have missed anyone off this list, we are sorry, please let us know. (The list is in no particular order)

  • Cuckfield Parish Council – http://www.cuckfield.gov.uk for their ongoing support, especially Sue
  • Cuckfield Village Museum – http://cuckfieldmuseum.org/ for their help in organising the open days, especially Phillipa for her invaluable help and encouragement
  • Cuckfield Life Magazine –  http://cuckfieldlife.co.uk/ for the article that generated LOADS of visitors this year
  • Subbrit – http://www.subbrit.org.uk/ for their support and advice
  • Dick, the groundsman for the Church who mows our grass and acts as security and has helped with some tools/maintenance over the past few years. Cheers
  • John of Penshurst ROC Post who has lent us some rare equipment for our open days. It really proved to be the icing on the cake. Thanks a lot.
  • Richard for his fabrication skills and advising how to repair the hatch, and drawing up plans
  • The farmer who keeps his sheep in the field!
  • All our visitors who came and appreciated the post

and last but by no means least, our partners who have to put up with endless amounts of bunker stuff in the garage/shed/loft/bedroom and do so without (much) comment. Thanks, Chloe and Claudine, for your support 🙂

Looking towards next year

Now the thanks are out of the way, what are plans for the bunker for next year apart from open days? Well we raised through donations a small amount of money which has enabled us to do and plan the following:

  • make a monetary donation to the Cuckfield Village Museum in Queens Hall as thanks for their support during 2013
  • donate some items from our collection that are too fragile to display in the bunker, again to Cuckfield Village Museum
  • to re-wire the lighting in the post to run off of 2 x 12v batteries, and to purchase secondhand UPS batteries and new low power LED lighting to save everyone bringing torches/us using 5484889 AA batteries each year! This will also make it easier for people to see.

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  • to repair the hatch and manufacture a locking bar from sheet steel and buy some new padlocks
  • to help us maintain the surface structures and paintwork as they will need repair/repainting in 2014

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  • to print out and laminate a load of archive photos and other photos for some new surface display/interpretation boards for next year, as not everyone can go down the ladder. The first display board is finished already though!

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  • thanks also to the Wealden Cave and Mine Society members who visited on the last day who helped strip the bunker for the closed season. Lots of carrying of stuff, thanks gents!

Plans for open days next year haven’t been finalised yet but will probably be over the summer months again and probably 3 or 4 days/weekends. When we have worked out when we will update http://www.rocremembered.com/ and our facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Cuckfieldnuclearbunker) with details. Alternatively the museum in Queens Hall in Cuckfield will have the dates.

We also hope to show some school groups around next year for educational purposes, and as always we can open at special request (by prior arrangement only) for interested groups/societies.

Also we saw something cool on a restored post in Scotland (https://www.facebook.com/28Group36post) which we may do next year rather than our unprofessional looking handwritten and laminated access sign held down with a brick that keeps going missing.

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(For details of the sign above, or to make your own signs, visit http://www.signomatic.co.uk)

So plenty to look forward to in 2014, hope to see some more visitors next year!

Mark and Ed