As some of you pointed out at the beginning of the month, the team at the Museum of RAF Firefighting were elated to receive news that Scampton Holdings Ltd – the consortium that we are in partnership with – had been selected by West Lyndsey District Council after years of hard work and negotiations to purchase and redevelop RAF Scampton. This would mean, along with the many business opportunities and over £300 million investment the plans would bring to the local area, that the museum would have an area allocated in the redevelopment plans for us to secure the necessary grants or funding to build our permanent home in line with the consortium’s vision for the heritage zone. More Details about the plans can be found here.

However, as quickly as we all looked to the future, the positivity was again replaced with crushing uncertainty as the Government announced its intentions to turn Scampton into an Immigration Centre; putting the agreement that was struck into jeopardy. Many of you, like us, are closely following in the local and national media but we sit with everything crossed waiting for further information. We remain committed to the plan and partnership with Scampton Holdings Ltd and we are grateful for your continued support.

Regardless of what is happening in the background, the team pitched up at Scunthorpe to start the day with morning prayers and a brew. Here we chatted through the different pieces of work that were needing to be addressed from the other week before splitting off into our respective teams. One team tried to finish off moving the vehicles at Scunthorpe to consolidate the area that we are taking up but unfortunately the small Bedford domestic truck, which has been marooned in the loading yard refused to start and is very much in situ until we can make up another link cable to tie the batteries together. A couple of tries on the starter today completely flattened the freshly charged battery which suggests that one just isn’t going to cut the mustard. Others in the team completed various administration work and also sanded down the wood for the Bedford OY hose carrier and continued work in the Library.

Meanwhile, the other team was happily joined by Matt from MJD Commercials to go and have a professional assessment of the RIV and its various ailments identified during a previous week’s runs. We are still working towards getting the RIV roadworthy and through an appropriate MOT to save having to low load yet another truck to our new location. When we eventually arrived, we showed Matt around the site to give him an idea of the scale of the collection and the various conditions that the trucks were in. Matt is a Land Rover off roading enthusiast and certainly took a shine to the various variants across the fleet.

However, our attention soon turned to the RIV. No sooner had we checked the voltage in the batteries we simultaneously spied the reason the alternator wasn’t charging anything – the belts had snapped and were now resident in the bottom of the engine bay – no expert required for that assessment! Slightly red faced, we then took the ladders and houses off to tip the back of the truck and inspect the alternator which spins freely and hopefully, with a couple of relatively cheap belts, will be back in action soon enough.

The RIV was then taken out for a test drive and brake efficiency test which confirmed that, although the brakes do pull to one side, they will pass the MOT standard. Not happy with this, Matt pulled his tools out the van and was soon underneath giving the brakes an adjustment and quick look over to see if this would rectify the imbalance. We identified a potential oil seepage on the hub which may have been a contributing factor but this needs further investigation on another day. After 10 minutes of the Boss and another volunteer addressing a side task to evict the brambles out of one of the MK5s, the Boss jumped in again to get some heat in the drums and give it some tests. As expected, job done, clearly indicated by the Boss’ grin when he returned and his vivid descriptions of the brakes now trying to send him through the windscreen.

When the teams returned to Scunthorpe we showed Matt the rest of the collection and the miles of boxes in the HQ before showing the rest of the trucks at the back of the building. We debriefed and returned home in a somewhat better mood, knowing that the RIV wasn’t quite as goosed as first thought and having got a lot of things collectively ticked off the list. But also to ensure that Steve didn’t scare Matt off with a task list longer than the Hadrian’s Wall!

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