Blackpool aviation museum aiming to swing in 2017

Air museum volunteer Paul Lomax with a Browning machine gun as used in a spitfire
Air museum volunteer Paul Lomax with a Browning machine gun as used in a spitfire
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Volunteers at a Blackpool aviation museum are set to bring in 2017 with a swing to raise funds for their project.

And the team at the Fylde Coast Museum of Aviation and Aircraft Manufacturing based at Hangar 42 at Blackpool Airport are celebrating after one of the replica Spitfires appeared in ITV’s new blockbuster costume drama The Halcyon Hotel.

Volunteer Lauren Nixon.

Volunteer Lauren Nixon.

The aircraft named Lucy, Vicky and Holly, are regulars in wartime film dramas and are due to make more appearances this year.

But they will also be at home in the hangar at Squires Gate for open days and a series of new 1940’s themed big band swing nights.

The team has worked hard to refurbish rooms at the building, a Bellman style hanger which played home to aircraft in the Second World War when 256 Squadron was based there. John Coombes, from the Lytham St Annes Spitfire Ground Display Team said: “We are back into the swing here at Hangar 42 with this year kicking off a number of key projects as well as the Hangar being open to the public on a more frequent basis.

“This year will see four major fundraisers for our project by Hangar 42 hosting Four 1940’s Glen Miller inspired Big Band Dances.

Volunteer Lloyd Martin at work on a hurricane

Volunteer Lloyd Martin at work on a hurricane

“These will take place in the main Hangar 42 floor space with the spitfire’s, hurricane and WW2 military vehicles making up the backdrop.

“We are hoping guests will wear period 40s uniforms or civilian clothing to really make the nights something special.”

Paul Lomax, from Blackpool, who has been a volunteer for four years and who owns a replica hurricane fighter named Diane and a war vintage fuel tanker said the team of around 18 had made great strides with the museum. He said: “We have fully renovated the entrance and a conference room which will be open to groups and companies in the future.

“The 1940s dances are very exciting and will help us with the work here. Our volunteers are brilliant. For example Lloyd Martin and Lauren Nixon have done most of the work on our mark 2 Hurricane.

Inside the cockpit of a replica spitfire

Inside the cockpit of a replica spitfire

“We are now going to paint it in the colours of a hurricane based here in 1943 which was credited with the shooting down of a Heinkel over Liverpool.

“We have students in from Blackpool and The Fylde College twice a week to help work on one of the Spitfires so it’s great for the young people too and we have many volunteers who were connected to BAE Systems.

“One man is now creating a flight simulator here with a projector and fantastic sound, really loud which will be fantastic for the museum.”

Chairman of the group John Coombes added: “The project would have been impossible without the help of the team at Blackpool Airport and I hope that subject to our fundraising plans we can look towards returning an operational Wartime Aircraft to RAF Squires Gate in the future

Work ongoing at Blackpool Aviation museum on their collection of spitfires

Work ongoing at Blackpool Aviation museum on their collection of spitfires

“The Hangar 42 project is a Fylde Coast gem and we hope that many holidaymakers, local schools and groups will come and visit us this year.”

Dates of 1940s dance nights:

Saturday, April 15 (The First Light Scramble Ball)

Saturday, May 6 (VE Day

Celebration Dance)

Saturday, June 24 (D-Day Ball)

Saturday, September 16 (Battle of Britain Big Band Ball)

Open days:

March 26

June 4

July 2

September 3

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