A FIVE-YEAR community project to bring Brightlingsea’s history to life is nearing completion.

Trustees and volunteers of Brightlingsea Museum are entering the home stretch of the project which will see a revamped museum reopened in new premises.

The project began when the group purchased the town’s old police station in 2015 but has developed into a £750,000 labour of love which will see a new facility created for the community.

Donations for the project have come from late chairman Claude Dove as well as the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Essex County Council, businesses and other supporters.

The latest kind donation was made by the Brightlingsea Beach Hut Association, which will be put towards a special structure in the museum’s reception area.

The revamped museum, under the stewardship of curator Margaret Stone, is set to finally reopen in May.

Mrs Stone said: “It is incredibly exciting but also busy at the moment.

“We bought the police station and built an extension on the side for the gallery.

“Since then we’ve had exhibition structures built and now we are putting the final touches to the exhibitions.”

Once open, the museum will focus on the unique history of the coastal community including its oyster trade, Roman origins and connections to the Cinque Ports.

Mrs Stone said there will be something for visitors of all ages and believes the facility will be an asset to Essex.

“It has been tremendous hard work but it is the culmination of many people’s dreams,” she said.

“The museum won’t be quite what people expect because we came from an old Victorian building and now we have a lot more space.

“This will take things to a whole new level.

“Although it is about the history of Brightlingsea you do not have to be a resident of the town to appreciate the stories.”

Mrs Stone was recognised for her work as curator with a British Empire Medal but she said the award belonged to the community.

“I have been exceptionally lucky and I have worked with some wonderful people at the museum, people who really care about the town,” she said.