Museum founder dies aged 80

Peter Scoley. EMN-160223-122427001
Peter Scoley. EMN-160223-122427001

Patron and founder of the popular Metheringham Airfield Visitor Centre, Peter Scoley, has died last week in hospital aged 80 after a short illness.

Husband to late wife Zena, he leaves his sons Martin and Philip and their families.

Museum curator Rod Sanders said: “He entered hospital just before the New Year with respiratory problems from which he didn’t recover. Up to the end he was thinking of various ways to improve the Visitor Centre which meant so much to him.”

During the Second World War, as a young boy, he and his family had been forced to leave their farm to make way for the building of RAF Metheringham airfield, home to the 106 Squadron of Lancaster bombers. The land was returned after the war.

In memory of the airmen’s sacrifices, he donated some of the buildings to the Friends of Metheringham Airfield as a monument to the 59 Lancaster bombers that were lost from the airbase in 18 months.

Mr Sanders said: “Peter came from true ‘Yellow Belly’ stock who farmed a large area of what was to become RAF Metheringham. From being given 48 hours to vacate their farm to the closing of the station in 1946, he saw first-hand much of what went on, including witnessing “FIDO” (fog dispersal system) in operation; a terrifying experience for the young Scoley.

“Acutely aware of the historic importance of the events which took place here, he was the driving force behind the creation of the Visitor Centre to honour those who served and especially those who gave their lives for us during this period.

“He will be much missed as a father, uncle, friend and visionary.”

Chairman of the Friends of Metheringham Airfield, Andy Marson, said: “He was one of the last links to the wartime side of RAF Metheringham, a sad loss to us all, an old fashioned gentleman and a pleasure to know.

“We aim to keep Peter’s legacy alive in the future of the visitor centre which is going from strength to strength.”

A private family funeral will be held on March 11, with donations to the visitor centre.

A memorial service will take place the same day at 2pm in the old airfield gymnasium.

All enquiries to Allenby’s of Anwick, Funeral Directors, 68, Main Road, Anwick, Sleaford.