Ipswich war hero left angered by decision to axe Meet the Veterans sessions at the Imperial War Museum Duxford
A 92-year-old Ipswich man who fought in the Second World War claims he and his fellow veterans have been given a “nasty smack in the face” by the Imperial War Museum at Duxford.
For nearly 10 years, Ivan Potter has been part of a group of around 30 men from Suffolk, most of whom made an annual trip to the museum to tell children and families about their war-time experiences.
Their visits took place during the school holidays as part of the museum’s Meet the Veterans project.
But this year Mr Potter, who joined the Auxillary Unit as a volunteer at 17, said he and his friends received no invitation – and after several attempts to contact Duxford, he discovered the sessions had been cancelled.
The veteran said that he was “very sad” to be told the news, and admitted that he “loved talking to people” about his experiences. “It’s a nasty smack in the face for us really,” he said.
“I loved talking to people about my time in the war and the people who came were always really interested to hear my stories.
“There was always a little crowd there and I looked forward to it every year. My friends, who include a marine and a vulcan pilot, are also upset – we were told it was due to government cuts.”
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Mr Potter has received several medals in his 92 years, and boasts a substantial collection of memorabilia, which is on display at his Ipswich home.
He is an active member of the veteran community and was invited along to give a talk at Bealings Village Hall on Thursday.
“They paid for us to go down there and it was a nice little trip. I’ve been around eight times in the last 10 years, it’s a lovely place and it’s a real shame we haven’t been invited back this year.”
Meet the Veteran sessions were held in Hangar One, and were open to adults and children of all ages.
A spokesman for the Imperial War Museum said: “We really appreciate the work our veterans do and we are sorry that Ivan had not heard from us in regards to this year’s activity.
“Our team had written to or called all our Meet the Veterans participants to explain that the sessions would not be going ahead for this year, as we are currently reviewing and developing our plans for all educational activity, but that we would be in touch later in the year to talk about the new programme.
“This change is not about government cuts but about continuing to develop our education programme across the Imperial War Museum.”