Spitfire will be flying for big event

John Coombes next to a replica Spitfire
John Coombes next to a replica Spitfire
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A MODEL spitfire hit by setbacks is now set to soar in time to star in a wartime celebration.

It had been hoped Fairhaven Lake’s memorial would be unveiled this month, in time to mark the 70th anniversary of the famous Lytham St Annes Spitfire’s final doomed flight.

But the soft ground around the lake means an extra £8,000 worth of pile-driving is needed – a project which has pushed the unveiling date back by almost two months.

Volunteer and fund-raiser John Coombes said: “Residents of Lytham and St Annes raised £6,500 to buy the plane in 1941.

“Sadly, it was shot down and residents were especially touched as its pilot Sgt Alan Lever-Ridings had family connections in the area.

“Alan’s mother and grandparents lived in St Annes and a number of his surviving relatives have said they will attend the unveiling.

“It is a shame the memorial won’t be complete by June 24 as that was when Alan lost his life.”

The volunteers behind the project have now named Sunday, August 19 as the new date for the unveiling - timed to coincide with Lytham’s wartime weekend.

Coun Sue Fazackerley, cabinet member for leisure and culture, said: “This will be a fitting tribute to the sacrifices that fighter, bomber and Coastal Command aircrews made – and especially fitting that it will be in Fylde which bought its own Spitfire.”

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