Scottish Borders Council has been successful in a first stage bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for a grant towards improving the Jim Clark rooms in Duns.
Development funding of £53,100 has been awarded to help SBC progress plans to apply for a full grant at a later date. The Council has already committed almost £620,000 to the project, and a second-stage application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for around £645,000 will be made before the end of the year.
SBC is working closely with the Jim Clark Memorial Room Trust, which has responsibility for the trophy collection.
The Council is also continuing to develop the plans for the redevelopment of the Jim Clark Room alongside the Jim Clark Trust, which has charitable status and is leading a fundraising drive via www.jimclarktrust.com to raise a minimum of £300,000 towards the cost of the overall project.
The project will see theJim Clark Room expanded to allow cars raced by Clark to be displayed, along with trophies and memorabilia.
Councillor Vicky Davidson, SBC’s Executive Member for Culture, Sport, Youth and Communities and a Jim Clark Memorial Room trustee, said: “This initial award is fantastic news and allows us to move to the next stage of more detailed planning for what will be a much enhanced museum celebrating the achievements of a uniquely inspirational racing driver.
“I’m also extremely pleased that SBC has again confirmed that it will invest over £600,000 towards the redevelopment of the Jim Clark Room, creating a visitor attraction in Duns town centre befitting the legacy and continuing international interest in the life of Jim Clark.”
The aim is for the new museum to open in 2018, the 50th anniversary of Jim Clark’s tragic death at Hockenheim in Germany, aged just 32. He is still considered one of the greatest ever racing drivers, and has a record that has stood the test of time.
Lucy Casot, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said: “We are delighted that, thanks to players of the National Lottery, we are able to give our initial approval to the development of this fascinating museum.
“A display of historic racing cars associated with one of motor racing’s greats is certain to attract new visitors to Duns and the Borders. We look forward to seeing the plans develop.”
Councillor Frances Renton, also a member of the Jim Clark Memorial Room Trust, said: “I am delighted that this project has attracted initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and that the Council and trusts continue to work closely to achieve the aim of opening the improved museum in 2018. This will be a major boost for Duns and Berwickshire.”