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Lodge finally reopens

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By Fiona Reid
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Lodge finally reopens

THE Dryfesdale Lodge Visitors’ Centre in Lockerbie has finally reopened after a five year hiatus.

Dumfriesshire Lord Lieutenant Fiona Armstrong and March Pursuivant Extraordinary Philip Tibbetts attended last Friday to mark the occasion.

And it will now be open to the public every weekend for the season, which runs until the end of September.

Explaining what has been going on there in the last few years, trustee and lodge secretary Timothy McCracken said: “The trustees had closed up the lodge back in 2019 as part of the routine winter closure, with the full intention of reopening in spring 2020. However, covid put pay to that and after a lengthy initial closure, a number of serious maintenance issues came to light.

“With work carried out to the roof of the building, water tanks and heating system, as well as new windows throughout, it has been a long road back to reopening.”

The primary role of the Lodge, which is located in the town’s Dryfesdale Cemetery grounds, is as part of the memorial to victims of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am 103 and to provide a place of quiet contemplation for those visiting the Garden of Remembrance.

Its memorial room now contains a short exhibition outlining the events surrounding the terrorist attack, in which 270 people died, and the following recovery operations and investigations. Her Royal Highness Princess Anne viewed this during her visit last week.

DELIGHTED . . . March Pursuivant Extraordinary Philip Tibbetts checks out some of the lodge displays

Lodge redevelopment officer Steve Bogle said: “We consulted thoroughly with the Victims of Pan Am 103 group, Syracuse University, and local residents while planning the layout of the memorial room exhibitions.

“We really hope we have struct the right balance between allowing the principal function of the memorial room to be remembrance of those lives lost and being informative enough to give a context to the act of remembrance.”

In addition, the Lodge hosts a local history exhibition, which has been further enhanced by items on loan from Dumfries and Galloway Museum Service.

There are plans to host temporary exhibitions by local groups or of local interest, with the current display featuring the Heraldry of Annandale and the development of the Lockerbie Coat of Arms. It has been curated by Philip Tibbetts, March Pursuivant Extraordinary and Officer of Arms to the Court of the Lord Lyon, the organisation that administers Arms in Scotland.

n Dryfesdale Lodge will now be open each Friday, Saturday and Sunday, from 11 am til 3 pm. It can also be opened outwith these times by prior arrangement with the trustees.

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