Generous support from a local builders’ merchant has allowed the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust to get its storm-damaged Spitfire replica temporarily flying straight and level.

The replica fighter, which sits alongside a replica Hurricane at the Capel-le-Ferne home of the National Memorial to the Few, was badly damaged by gale-force winds that ripped through the clifftop site late on 20 January.

The Hurricane was also damaged, and the Trust is now anxiously waiting to hear the cost of repairs at what is a difficult time for the charity, already hard hit by the lack of visitors during the pandemic.

Site manager Jules Gomez and trustee Nick Lawn initially managed to raise the Spitfire using a car jack and placed metal trestles under either wing to keep it level.

They decided that it would be safer if they could support the replica aircraft with wooden pallets and contacted Wayne Vincent at timber and builders’ merchant Youngs. He spoke to managing director Chris Levitt, who agreed to supply and deliver the pallets for free the next day.

“We are very grateful to Youngs for their help but clearly still worried about funding the cost of repairs,” said Trust chairman Richard Hunting CBE.

“Last year was a difficult one for the Trust, like other charities, with no income from our shop, café, car park or Scramble Experience for many months. We really didn’t need another setback like this, and we hope people who know the site and enjoy seeing the replicas will contribute to the cost of repairing them.

“Capel-le-Ferne is very exposed, and the Memorial’s situation on the edge of the famous White Cliffs, while dramatic and thought provoking, does put it in the way of the worst of the winter weather.”

Richard Hunting CBE

While now stable, the Spitfire is currently cordoned off for health and safety reasons. Visitors who use the pedestrian gate to access the site while The Wing and car park remain closed are asked to respect the cordon and not climb over it.

Donations to support the Trust, which receives no public funding of any kind, can be made by following the link on the home page of the website at www.battleofbritainmemorial.org



By Ed

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