The welcome financial contribution from Mr Richard Hoare and The Bulldog Trust, is the first major funding received as part of a drive to generate the £1 million needed to rejuvenate Brecon’s Royal Welsh Regimental Museum. The generous donation was specifically given to fund the restoration and presentation of the iconic Union flag which was raised after the momentous battle of Rorke’s Drift in 1879.
Bill Cainan, Curator of the Regimental Museum of the Royal Welsh, explained how the £5,000 donation will be used to keep the Rorke’s Drift flag as a lasting legacy for generations to follow.
“This worn and torn surviving emblem of the Battle of Rorke’s Drift was brought home by one of the survivors, Private Evan Jones and it appears that he kept it well protected in a chest of drawers in his bedroom for most of his remaining life. Shortly before his death in 1931 he gave the flag to Mr Jack Higgs, whose family generously donated it to the museum. For many years it hung in an old wooden frame covered in plastic and its future life was in great doubt unless it could be reframed in a purpose made air-proof frame. This much needed donation will help ensure this precious legacy can be preserved in a more appropriate manner and help keep the Rorke’s Drift flag flying.”
Supporters of the museum hope this will be the first of many donations which will fund improvements to better present the numerous historic relics and breathe new life into the Grade II-listed visitor attraction.
Dorcas Cresswell, Chairman of the appeal fund raising committee, encouraged others to show their support for the Royal Welsh Regimental Museum Appeal. She said: “We are extremely grateful for this very generous donation from one of our loyal supporters, and we hope others follow suit by pledging their support to the appeal. By becoming a Friend of the Museum, supporting its fund raising events and bringing your families, friends and colleagues to visit the museum in Brecon you will help maintain the military history of Wales as well as providing vital funds needed to secure its future.”
Aside from a number of prize relics rescued from the bloody battle of the Anglo-Zulu War, the Royal Welsh Regimental Museum is the home for 17 Victoria Crosses – thought to be the largest collection of VCs in a Regimental Museum anywhere in the world.
Mrs Julie James, Chairman of Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, added: “We are delighted to hear news of this donation to the museum appeal which will go a long way to preserving Brecon’s proud cultural heritage. This special collection is steeped in history and is such a valuable educational resource for our children who might not be aware of the incredible heroic battles that our forefathers fought, whether it be in the Anglo-Zulu war, WW1 or WW11. This is history that needs sharing and preserving for generations to come.”
The national Royal Welsh Regimental Museum Appeal campaign will be officially launched today (Thursday 14th June) which coincides with the annual ‘Beating the Retreat’ celebrations in Brecon. This special launch will be followed by a special Anglo-Zulu War-themed weekend at the Regimental Museum from Saturday, 16th June to Sunday, 17th June – which promises a day of historical fun for the whole family.
Highlights of the event programme include re-enactors dressed as soldiers from the 24th Regiment, a surgeon demonstrating field techniques, foot and weapon drill displays, costumes for children to dress as soldiers from 1879 and a lecture by keynote speaker Ian Knight – a leading author on the Anglo-Zulu War – at Brecon Cathedral.
The appeal is also encouraging friends to make donations, bequeath legacies and transfer assets to support the cause. For more information or to find out how you can help with the appeal please contact Dorcas Cresswell at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01497 847 262 or the Royal Welsh Regimental Museum on 01874 613310.