A FUNDRAISING campaign to repair a unique Second World War tank at a Dorset museum has been successful.

The Churchill Mark III* tank, which was used by the British Army, was stopped in its tracks last year after a major failure at the Tank Museum's Tiger Day event.

The Bovington museum appealed to its supporters to raise the estimated £5,000 needed to cover the costs of repairing the tank back to running order - in order to have it back up and running in time for this year's Tankfest, scheduled to take place in June.

More than £5,000 has now been raised.

Chris van Schaardenburg, head of collections at the Tank Museum, said: “We are incredibly grateful for this contribution from our supporters at a time when we appreciate that finances are difficult for everyone – not just this museum.

“In working order, this vehicle plays an important role in allowing us to tell the story of the men who fought in these machines during the Second World War. With these funds we can now pay for new parts to be forged which will be installed by our Workshop team.”

The tank is in the long-term care of the Tank Museum but is owned by The Churchill Trust - a registered charity with common objectives. It was previously the only running example of its kind in existence until a major clutch mechanism failure at Tiger Day 14 put it out of action. The failure was a result of an apparent weakness in the manufacture of the housing unit, something that has been seen in other spares in the museum’s collection.

The 20-year partnership between the Tank Museum and the Churchill Trust allows the museum to operate and maintain the vehicle in running condition so that it can be displayed to the widest possible audience. At the conclusion of the partnership, it is intended that the vehicle will be gifted to the museum.

The Tank Museum is currently closed due to Covid-19 restrictions, with the costs of the pandemic being been put at £2.5 million so far for the Dorset charity – which relies on paying visitors to fund the work required to care for its unique collection of vehicles.

The repair work and the story behind The Tank Museums partnership with The Churchill Trust will be covered in the Museum’s YouTube series, Tank Workshop Diaries.