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March for museum.

Byline: NAOMI CORRIGAN @EveningGazette

CAMPAIGNERS gathered at the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum amid fears over its future.

Councillor Terry Lawton organised the demonstration after raising concerns that the museum in Stewart Park, Middlesbrough, could be set for closure. Middlesbrough Council is carrying out a review of all of cultural services in the town.

The local authority, which is spending PS500,000 on an improvement programme, said the museum has not been prioritised for closure in the review but no decisions have been made.

Cllr Lawton, who sits on the board of trustees for the Captain Cook Birthplace Trust, has set up a Facebook page to campaign for the museum's long-term future.

He challenged the council to "simply deny" the rumours and state it is not a possibility.

About 40 people turned up to the campaign march yesterday in Stewart Park. Cllr Lawton said: "We had a great turnout for our demonstration supporting the future of the Captain's museum. It is only the first step of our campaign.

"Every person I have spoken to came up with one question - why are they thinking of closing it? And I can't answer them.

"Everyone is really incensed that it should be in danger. It must not be closed down or moved."

As reported, Cllr Lewis Young, the council's Executive member for culture, leisure and sport, said that, as part of the town's City of Culture 2025 bid, a review of cultural services was under way. No decisions had been made until its findings had been fully evaluated.

And in a letter to The Gazette, Cllr Young wrote that the museum had not been "prioritised" for closure.

He wrote: "The mayoral vision for Middlesbrough places culture at the top of its agenda.

"Culture and regeneration are inextricably linked and we are keen to develop what Middlesbrough has to offer. Captain Cook's legacy is key to this and one we will continue to celebrate. That is why I, like many others, look forward to seeing the new and improved Captain Cook Birthplace Museum in 2017."


Yesterday's show of support for the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum IAN MCINTYRE

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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 8, 2016
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