Over £500,000 has been committed by Scottish Borders Council towards the £1.2 million project to upgrade the Jim Clark Museum in Duns.
After much debate about whether to leave the museum where it is in Newtown Street or move it into premises on the site of the old Berwickshire High School, the decision has been made - it’s staying where it is.
The aim is for the new museum to open in 2018, the 50th anniversary of Jim Clark’s tragic death at Hockenheim in Germany at the age of just 32.
Jim Clark won the Formula One championship in 1963, becoming the then youngest ever world champion. He followed it up with victory again in 1965 and in the same year also won the prestigious Indianapolis 500 in America. He remains the only driver to have won both the Formula One and Indy 500 titles in the same year and is still considered one of the greatest ever racing drivers.
The council’s existing Jim Clark Room will be expanded and enhanced to allow cars raced by Clark to be displayed, along with a wide range of trophies and other memorabilia.
Doug Niven, who, along with Ian Calder, represents Jim’s family on the trust said: “The Jim Clark Trust is delighted that Scottish Borders Council has earmarked this significant sum to a new museum in Duns.
“Being able to display some of Jim’s cars in an expanded museum in Duns has been a long-held dream of many people, and this commitment from the council takes us a lot closer to seeing that achieved.”
Berwickshire Councillor Frances Renton, a long-standing supporter of the Jim Clark museum and a Jim Clark trustee, added:“I have been working within the council for several years on options to expand the Jim Clark Room and I am delighted that we now have a clear plan to expand on the current site with committed funding of over half a million pounds.”
Councillor Vicky Davidson, SBC’s executive member for culture, a Jim Clark trustee, said: “I am delighted that the council has confirmed its financial commitment to this project, which the council and the Jim Clark Trust have been working in partnership to make a reality.
“The existing trophy room is a popular visitor attraction in its own right, but what will be created really befits the incredible achievements of this unassuming Berwickshire farmer. The new museum will give us space to display some of Jim Clark’s actual race cars and will put the museum up there with Scotland’s foremost visitor attractions.