MORE than 1,000 motor sport enthusiasts from around the world travelled to Duns on Saturday to help family and friends of the late Jim Clark mark the 50th anniversary of his death.

The double Formula One world champion was killed in a crash in Germany on April 7, 1968, and last weekend’s tribute in the Berwickshire town was part of a series of related events being staged in the Scottish Borders.

The Duns gathering also signalled the start of work on a new £1.6m museum at the current Jim Clark Room.

Funding for the project has been a culmination of efforts by Scottish Borders Council, the Jim Clark Trust and Heritage Lottery Funding.

The new development will continue to be run by charitable Trust Live Borders.

Jim Clark’s sister, Isobel Henderson, symbolically closed the current museum by waving a chequered flag before waving a green racing flag to give the go ahead for work to start on the new one.

Clark’s cousin, Doug Niven, a family trustee of the Jim Clark Trust, spoke on behalf of the family on what was an emotionally charged spring morning.

He said: “We will never cease to be amazed at how many people want to come and pay their respects to Jim and learn more about him.

“We look forward to a new museum celebrating the life and achievements of Jim and his legacy for Scottish motorsport to promote heritage, education and inspire future generations.” The new museum will provide expanded exhibition space showcasing memorabilia, trophies and cars.

The current facility will shut on May 31 with the new one expected to open in late spring next year.

Ewan Jackson, chief executive of Live Borders said: “The expanded museum will be a modern and vibrant celebration of Jim Clark’s life and career for visitors from all walks of life to celebrate his life and achievements.”

A farmer at Edington Mains, near Chirnside, Clark rapidly rose from humble beginnings in amateur races across the south of Scotland and northern England to the very top of his sport.

Capturing the eye of the Lotus team he took a string of honours which made him the man to beat of that racing generation.

A world champion by 1963, and again in 1965, Clark would win 25 grand prix in total putting him top of the all-time table at the time.

On Saturday Lotus cars, including six of Clark’s own, lined Newtown street while VIP guests including Clark’s mechanic Bob Dance, close friend Ian-Scott Watson and Clive Chapman, son of team Lotus founder Colin Chapman, were also in attendance.

The official ceremony was brought to a close with a piper’s lament and a minute’s silence. The anniversary programme then moved to Chirnside where a church service and an anniversary dinner took place.