Back our dream for flight history museum

John Coombes with the Lytham St Annes Spitfire
John Coombes with the Lytham St Annes Spitfire
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Ambitious plans to build a museum to celebrate the Fylde coast’s rich aviation history have been revealed – and Gazette readers are today being encouraged to back the bid.

Campaigners want a permanent reminder to recognise the region’s air heritage, with supporters wanting to build a Fylde Coast Museum of Aviation and Aircraft Manufacturing, linked to the Second World War.

The Lytham St Annes Spitfire Display Team (LSASDT), which previously helped to construct a £120,000 Spitfire Memorial at Fairhaven Lake, hope donations from residents will get the project off the ground.

John Coombes, 48, of the LSASDT, said: “While touring with the team over the last few years, we have visited places in Germany and France and that is where the idea has come from.

“We want to put down some permanent roots. We want to get the public and schools into the museum and use it to celebrate the past history of the Fylde coast.”

The team hope to use the museum to recognise the area’s contribution to aviation, which includes bases such as RAF Squires Gate, RAF Lytham, RAF Freckleton, the Stanley Park Aerodrome and the Warton Aerodrome – once operated by the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF).

Mr Coombes said the project would require donations amounting to at least six-figures, with match funding to start building a permanent legacy to aircraft which flew from the region.

But he revealed no site has been earmarked for the development – and hoped landowners would back the plans.

He added: “The big problem, and one of the reasons for the funding drive, is that there has been so much development and planned development in the area. Two-and-a-half years on, we still have no firm location.

“We want it to be on the Fylde coast. A potential site still has to be identified, and it is hoped a local landowner, or a company which may have unwanted sites land banked, may come forward following this appeal.”

The planned museum will include displays, skills sessions about how planes were built and replica aircraft such as Spitfires and Hurricanes – with hopes of bringing a 176ft Vickers Wellington bomber – originally built at Stanley Park Aerodrome – back to the resort.

Readers can donate online by visiting www.gofundme.com and searching for the Fylde Coast Museum of Aviation, or visit the Lytham St Annes Spitfire Team Facebook page.