The brand new Bampton Heritage Visitor Centre opened to the public on 14 September.
On Friday 13 September a fund-raising launch event was held to celebrate the opening of the centre.
Over 130 members of the Bampton community attended and enjoyed live music, west country cheeses and wine. They were also the first to see a brand new DVD prepared locally to commemorate the Exe valley railway and Bampton railway station which closed 50 years ago next month. Short speeches were given by the church’s Vicar, Rev Lynne Burgon and also Neil Parish MP who attended to show his support for the project.
Commenting after the launch event, chair of the Bampton Heritage and Visitor Centre team Katrina Munro said “This evening has been a huge success and so well attended. There was a great community spirit and the event had the atmosphere of a lively social gathering. The centre is not just about attracting visitors; it’s also about bringing the community together including long standing Bampton families and newcomers and celebrating the history of our great little town. The location within Bampton church is the ideal setting and will work well for all.”
Since 2011, volunteers in Bampton have been working on the project. The Heritage Lottery Fund awarded a grant of £23,300 to the centre and a further £12,000 was raised from a variety of local sources.
Displays include modern high quality interpretation boards, local artefacts and photos. Themes include the famous Bampton Charter Fair, held on the last Thursday of October every year since 1258. A large 1960s model showing the town’s old railway station will be permanently on display.
Residents and visitors will be able to visit the centre from Wednesday to Sunday to find out local information from the centre’s volunteers.
There will be activities for children inside the centre and guided town trails can also be arranged for groups.
Some aspects of the project are still under development and this will include themed exhibitions throughout the coming year.
More details can be found on the town’s website www.bampton.org.uk