A “WORLD-CLASS” living history centre featuring Scotland’s first ever statue of Bonnie Prince Charlie could be up and running in three years.

The Battle of Prestonpans 1745 Heritage Trust is launching its Vision for Victory and presents its plans to the community next week.

The group has been fundraising since 2006 to reach a position to succeed in its core goals, which include the preservation and commemoration of the battle and the battle site, as well as creating the living history centre as its base.

And it is hoped that the centre will include Scotland’s first ever statue of Bonnie Prince Charlie, whose Jacobite army defeated a government force at the battle in September 1745.

The trust hopes that the funds for the centre will come from a combination of the National Lottery, Scottish Government, Historic Environment Scotland and Bord na Gaidhlig – though the group admits that donors will be vital.

The process has started with the Vision for Victory being launched online following funding from the Heritage Lottery for research.

A competition will also be held to come up with a name for the centre.

Gordon Prestoungrange, joint chairman of the trust, told the Courier: “Anyone who has an idea can send it in via this new online system. We’re calling this bit the ‘Road to Victory’.

“We need to get the local communities interested and involved.

“We know that we need to have a lot going on at the centre to keep it interesting and to keep people visiting.

“We will expect a high tourist number to come to the museum – we will schedule in school trips and class trips – and lastly, we need to secure the interest of residents within a 50-mile radius.”

The plans for the centre include an activity programme which will see costumed interpreters “bringing history to life”, intimate theatre space that will facilitate theatre and film, workshops including embroidery sessions, historical tailoring, Gaelic language learning and historical artefact handling, as well as educational space and a research library.

The trust will build a database of feedback received to help steer towards a final plan. The group will also encourage community engagement in the final few stages of the project, including ideas and designs for the statue of the Bonnie Prince himself.

Although a site for the centre has not yet been selected, the trust is optimistic a decision will be reached by June next year; it has already named some potential locations, including the north-west corner of the site of the new town at Blindwells.

Gordon added: “We need a site close to the battlefield itself.

“Hopefully by the time it comes to decide, the council will have resolved how to proceed with the former site of Cockenzie Power Station.

“The centre we want to create will be a world-class living history centre with the capacity to bring over 80,000 people a year to the area.”

The trust is also keeping active with its programme, which includes battle re-enactments each year – the Battle of Prestonpans was re-enacted last year, with the Battle of Dunbar getting its turn later this year – and touring with the Battle of Prestonpans tapestry, which marks its 10th anniversary next year, coinciding with the battle’s 275th anniversary.

The tapestry will be toured around venues in the country, before its preparation for permanent housing at the living history centre, along with the Scottish Diaspora Tapestry.

The trust is presenting its Vision for Victory at a public presentation in Prestonpans Town Hall on Wednesday, 2-8pm. For more information, visit visionforvictory1745.org