Spitfire memorial lands in Lytham

Spitfire hoisted into position at Fairhaven Lake. Picture by: Peter Owen. BELOW: John Coombes.
Spitfire hoisted into position at Fairhaven Lake. Picture by: Peter Owen. BELOW: John Coombes.
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A WORLD War Two Spitfire took to the skies over the Fylde coast.

But those looking for a rasping aeroplane skimming between the clouds did not have to look skyward as this replica was hoisted onto a huge pole on the shores of Fairhaven Lake.

John Coombes

John Coombes

Scores of residents turned out to see the lifesize plane put into position on Tuesday.

The nine-metre aircraft is to be the centrepiece of an RAF Fighter and Bomber Command memorial, erected in time for this week’s Wartime Weekend.

Residents and councillors gathered to watch the installation and said they hoped the fighter plane would be a valuable resource for the area, as well as a memorial.

Coun Sue Fazackerley, Fylde Council cabinet member for leisure and tourism, said: “It’s going to be a real attraction and a reminder for all of us of the sacrifices of the few.

“It’s living history.”

Chris Cassidy, from Lytham, watched the aircraft installation with his granddaughter Grace, and said he hoped it would be a valuable resource for schoolchildren.

The 59-year-old added: “It’s bound to be a good learning tool. It’s a visual beginning, when children see it they’ll want to know more.”

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The replica, modelled on an original fighter plane, was sourced and erected by a team of volunteers who raised £8,000 for the project.

The team hope to tell the story of the plane in interactive information screens around the memorial.

The original plane it is based on was purchased by the people of Lytham and St Annes for £6,500 in 1941, and was piloted by Sergeant Alan Lever-Ridings, whose parents lived in the area.

He was tragically killed as the plane was shot down over the Devon coast 70 years ago but the volunteers hope his memory will live on through the memorial.

John Coombes, a volunteer and fundraiser, said: “This memorial will last for many years to come.

“It should look very dramatic.”

Rob Brockie, 60, from Newton, added: “I think it’s important to have war memorials and remember the loss.”

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