THE new Alresford Town Museum had a high-profile visitor when the Lord Lieutenant Nigel Atkinson paid a visit.

Robin Atkins, chairman of the New Alresford Town Trust welcomed Mr Atkinson, and his wife, Mrs Christine Atkinson, on their signing of a new Visitors Book for the Museum.

Other guests included two former Mayors of Winchester, Chris Pines and Ernie Jeffs, as well as Barbara Jeffs, former Lady Mayoress, city councillor Lisa Griffiths, Andy Sprott, vice chairman of the town council, trustees John Cattle and Dorothy Hamilton, as well as John Cloyne (former City Councillor)

Liz Cloyne, Jan Field, chairman of the Alresford Society, Len Orton former chairman of the trust and most importantly Richard (a fireman for 37 years) and Ann Pay who now look after the wellbeing of the Merryweather Engine and the museum artefacts.

Mr Atkins explained the history of the trust formed in 1890 to take over the responsibility of the Bailiff and Burgesses who had run Alresford from 1575.

The museum had been started by the late Roy Robins in 2005, but following his death had remained dormant until NATT took it over in 2011.

The museum now housed in the original engine room of the Old Fire Station will be extended to half the building in 2020. The main feature is the Merryweather Engine built in 1893 and owned by the Tichborne Park Estates until the Hankin family acquired it in the 1960s.

The Lord-Lieutenant inspected the engine and the museum’s current display, before addressing the audience. He said: "I was fascinated to hear about the town’s history and thrilled to see the old fire engine and other artefacts, all of which had been beautifully cared for and laid out. I was also hugely impressed by what the volunteers had achieved to date and wish them every success with their proposed museum development."

Chris Pines observed that it was lovely to see how many people were enjoying themselves from so many political and social traditions.

The attendances for all three venues on a quiet Alresford day produced 426 visitors who in total donated £215. The Museum had 174 visitors, many of whom signed the new Visitors Book.