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Stowmarket: Museum of East Anglian Life has positive future - new director

PUBLISHED: 06:00 27 January 2014

Dr Nick Winterbotham who is the interim director of the Museum of East Anglian Life in Stowmarket

Dr Nick Winterbotham who is the interim director of the Museum of East Anglian Life in Stowmarket

Archant

The new interim director of one of Suffolk’s biggest attractions has said it has a “bright future” as it under goes a business review while facing challenging budget cuts.

Nick Winterbotham is heading up an appraisal of the Museum of East Anglian Life as Suffolk councils assess how much they can afford to give out in grants.

The 59-year-old has taken over from Tony Butler who led the museum, based in Stowmarket, for nine years. He said that everything was “up for grabs” and it is his job not to “drop the ball” as the attraction had a “fabulous” world-wide reputation.

“The things that we have got to deal with is the fact that the local authorities who support us, and always have done, are under the cosh,” he said.

“There’s a limit to the amount of support that they can give to the museum. We are looking at what we are good at, what we could be good at and what people would like to see us doing and make sure we do not lose the ground that we have achieved over the years.”

The museum receives around £135,000 a year from Suffolk County Council and Mid Suffolk District Council. But both have been assessing how much they can afford as they continue to face cuts to their government funding.

Despite this Mr Winterbotham, who worked as chief executive of the Thinktank science museum and Millennium Point attraction in Birmingham for six years, said the museum was in “better shape than most”.

He warned that museums were under pressure and more had closed in the last recession compared to the previous two.

Visitor numbers at the museum went up when Mr Butler was in charge from 26,000 to 40,000 a year.

A permanent museum director is expected to be announced in the summer.

The company which runs Foxhall Stadium in Ipswich has been ordered to pay £118,000 after it admitted breaching four health and safety standards which jeopardised public safety.

Suffolk’s police and crime commissioner (PCC) has funded a new amnesty bin in Haverhill to support Operation Sceptre – the bin-a-blade initiative in the county.

Top Suffolk guitarist Robert Castellani will be joining touring artists Maneli Jamal and Jon Hart on their UK tour with a support slot at the John Peel Centre in Stowmarket.

Halloween is fast approaching and there are a variety of events taking place across the county for everyone to enjoy.

Tickets for Gary Barlow’s Thetford Forest concert sold out in less than a day after being snapped up when they went on sale this morning.

It’s a football rivalry which pits Norfolk against Suffolk, county against county, city against town.

A man who was exposed in a sting by vigilante paedophile hunters has been given a community order.

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