TWO new exhibitions celebrating the life and work of a pair of much-loved Wimborne residents have just opened at the Museum of East Dorset.

One celebrates the life and achievements of local GP, gifted photographer, pioneer of early motoring, collector of antiques and local historian: Sir Ernest Kaye Le Fleming.

The other celebrates the life of Ian Willis, a well-known, and much-loved character and gardening enthusiast.

Both men, who reside in the town, have supported the museum for many years.

Ernest Kaye Le Fleming was a well-respected GP in Wimborne for 45 years.

He reached national prominence as chairman of the British Medical Association and was knighted for his services to medicine in 1937.

Ernest accumulated many ‘bygones’ from around the Wimborne area which are now on display at the museum.

A spokesman from the museum said: “Ernest was an enthusiastic collector with ‘the deepest love of antiques and every possible relic of past times.’ He also accepted such items instead of cash payment for his services as a doctor, at a time when poorer people could not afford to pay doctors’ fees.

“In many ways, Ernest Kaye Le Fleming can be seen as one of the godfathers of the Museum of East Dorset. Thanks to him, the museum can display the nationally significant collection of Victorian Valentines, which he saved from being pulped during the war.

“Ernest was a strong supporter of Wimborne having its own museum. In 1962, his photographs and objects were donated to the museum.”

The new exhibition explores the life of this multi-talented man using objects from the museum’s collection, and personal photographs and items loaned by members of the Le Fleming family.

Ian Willis, who was born and bred in Wimborne, was described as an “eccentric” man by staff at the museum and had a lifelong love of gardening and the decorative arts.

His home, Serles House, and particularly its garden, became famous for quirky and creative design and ‘interesting’ artefacts.

The spokesman added: “He invited visitors into his once Secret Space to muse on its eccentricities while raising funds to support many varied good causes.

“Ian was a keen supporter of the Museum of East Dorset. Over the years, he donated many items to the collection.

“These have been used, along with some objects on loan from Serles House, to create a display to remember him.”