A Spitfire flew over Blackpool on Saturday as we watched cricket in the sunshine by Stanley Park.
“That’s an old World War Two fighter plane, Jack,” a father told his son, who was suitably impressed.
“They won the Battle of Britain for us,” added his grandad. “We wouldn’t be here now, lad, if not for them and their sacrifice.”
It was an evocative moment as the small plane flew on then arched in a triumphant loop the loop over sands near Starr Gate and Blackpool Airport.
This resort coast has always given a great reception to our Forces’ heroes. There was a Spitfire, too, on display in revitalised St John’s Square.
The evening before, we had attended a veterans’ gala dinner marking Armed Forces’ Week.
That same pride and gratitude was evident then, for men and women who won us peace and relative prosperity.
We wined and dined well with family and friends at the table of another veteran campaigner, my mother-in-law Wynne and other members of Blackpool Civic Trust.
The Trust, chaired previously by Elaine Smith and now Joan Humble, has done much to keep civic pride high in difficult times – a battle in itself. Its blue plaques protect many of our finest, older buildings while majestic centrepieces the Winter Gardens and Tower are being beautifully restored.
Other town centre improvements may take longer to achieve – and to win hearts. However, Blackpool’s motto is Progress and we need that to survive.
In particular, a huge demolition site just below where that Spitfire climbed high in the sky, the old Pontin’s holiday camp, begs for attention.
Such a location, alongside unspoiled coastline by the M55 link road and airport, must deserve more inspired consideration and treatment.
Perhaps its borderline status between Blackpool and Fylde hinders progress
Whatever the reason, let us hope those powers-that-be can draw on the fighting spirit of the past and bring a better vision in the future to our much-loved coast.
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