Dad’s Army and EastEnders star Ian Lavender set to open Diss Museum for 2017 season

Diss Museum. Picture: SONYA DUNCAN

Diss Museum. Picture: SONYA DUNCAN - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015

Dad's Army and EastEnders star Ian Lavender is set to open a popular Norfolk town's museum this weekend.

Ian Lavender. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Ian Lavender. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: ©Archant Photographic 2008

Diss Museum was established in 1993 to celebrate the history of the town and the surrounding area, welcoming tourists, residents, schoolchildren and researchers from across the area.

It will open for its brand new exhibition season on Saturday, March 11 at 11am, with Mr Lavender - who is currently in the popular BBC soap EastEnders - as special guest.

Miranda Moore, who is chairman of the Diss Museum Trustees, said: 'Diss Museum offers not only a look at the famous people who once lived or died in the town but also shines a spotlight on the conditions they grew up in and the everyday lives people led.'

One new exhibition for 2017 celebrates the museum's special links with Diss Junior School, with a display of pupils poppy artwork inspired by the museum's artefacts.

Another new display will feature one of the greatest love stories of the 20th century, which has recently been made into a major Hollywood film.

The museum will be sharing the previously unknown local links between Norfolk and Seretse Khama - the man who became the first president of Botswana - and his English wife Ruth.

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Their inter-racial marriage in the 1950s caused outrage across the United Kingdom and South Africa, and eventually led to Seretse Khama being exiled from his homeland.

Other displays will examine the how The Aldrich Bros Ltd brush and mat factory has impacted on the daily lives of local people, as well as reveal the lives of people buried in Diss Cemetery.

In an age of emails, text and Snapchat, one display will champion the good old-fashioned hand-written letter - with a collection of correspondences to people in Diss from around the world. The museum is also unique in that it is able to allow local people to showcase their personal collections.

Over the last 12 months, the museum has received over 140 donations from the public which will go on display for the first few months of the new museum season.

Have you got a story about Diss' heritage? Contact reporter Sabrina Johnson on 01379 561176 or email for the first few months of the new museum season.