The Ingrebourne Valley visitor centre in Hornchurch Country Park finally opened its doors on Saturday 3rd October 2015. Following speeches from our Chairman and other parties, the centre was finally opened by Cllr Melvin Wallace and lolo Williams from BBCs Springwatch.
The weather was glorious, and the visitor centre was busy all day, attracting both young and old from miles around, popping in for a well earned cuppa and a lovely slice of cake.
Two large screens displayed photographs depicting the building works as they progressed, along with a video detailing the history of the site.
The only disappointment being that the promised Spitfire fly past was halted before it began by bad weather at the airfield from which it was taking off.
Trustees had previously attended a ground-breaking ceremony, as this was one of the biggest grants awarded so far, £666,900. The Visitor Centre, is to be a community resource reaching over 140,000 people. It will focus on the natural and historical aspects of the site known as Suttons Farm. During the First World War an airfield was created at Suttons Farm , from which biplanes of the Royal Flying Corps took off to defend London from airships attack and during the Second World War RAF Hornchurch became the most renowned Spitfire station in Fighter Command as squadrons were prominent in the Battle of Britain and the Battle for France.
The centre will engage with the community, schools and hard to reach groups enabling them to learn about the value and historical and natural heritage of the site.