Blackpool Airport aviation museum aims to raise £400,000 and is set to welcome flying Spitfire

A Second World War vintage Spitfire will fly over the Fylde coast once more to mark the anniversary of the death of a Battle of Britain hero.

By Tim Gavell
Wednesday, 20th April 2022, 12:30 pm
This Polish Heritage Flights Second World War Spitfire Mark Vb will be returning to Blackpool this summer
This Polish Heritage Flights Second World War Spitfire Mark Vb will be returning to Blackpool this summer

The aviation museum at Blackpool Airport is set to get a visit from a Mark Vb Spitfire painted in the colours of one of the Polish squadrons which fought against the Nazi forces in the skies over Britain.

And Polish Heritage Flight’s Spitfire BM597 will fly over Fairhaven Lake in an aerial tribute on the June 23 at 6.30pm to mark the 80th anniversary of the loss of the Lytham St Annes Spitfire and her Pilot Sgt Alan Lever-Ridings. The lake has a replica aircraft monument and the event is open to the public.

The Spitfire will arrive on June 12 at Blackpool Airport as the guest of the Spitfire Visitor Centre museum in Hangar 42 at the west end of the airfield until the end of August.

The Polish Spitfire was on display at Hangar 42 at Blackpool Airport last year. Pictured is aviation museum volunteer Paul Lomax

Most Popular

    Read More

    Read More
    Blackpool air museum team land their first flying wartime aircraft

    The team behind the museum and its replica aircraft are launching a £400,000 fund-raising drive to extend the museum near their hangar, as well as putting together a programme of events to mark Armed Forces Day, the Queen’s Jubilee and also the August Holiday period.

    They are also continuing with the restoration of an Airspeed Oxford aircraft from the war period.

    The museum’s John Coombes said: “We are encouraging members of the Public to join us for this Service of Remembrance on June 23.

    The Polish Spitfire will fly over the memorial Spitfire at Fairhaven Lake in a memorial event for Fylde coast pilot Sgt Alan Lever-Ridings who was killed in the war

    "This year we are starting our fundraising efforts to build a new extension to the Spitfire Visitor Centre at Blackpool Airport, which will include new warbird hangarage, classrooms and engineering facilities for students and volunteers alike. This £400,000 scheme, currently in development, will create new jobs and a inspirational new Heritage Site for Visitors to the Fylde Coast.”

    The museum is running a school visit programme, with the help of a Heritage Lottery Fund Grant, where volunteers give pupils a tour of the exhibits, including replica Spitfires and a Hurricane, as well as offer details about the history of the war to compliment children’s curriculum lessons.

    John added: "More than 580 children from across the Fylde Coast have visited the Spitfire’s at Blackpool Airport in the past six months, as a result of the funding.

    “Two successful teacher open days saw more than 80 teachers attend the Spitfire Visitor Centre, to view the exhibits and subject materials that had been prepared to help them create an interesting and exciting hands-on field trip for their pupils.

    The aviation museum team are working on restoring a Second World War Airspeed Oxford

    Sgt Alan Lever-Ridings was just 21 when he was reported missing on June 23, 1942. That day Alan had been involved in escort duties escorting RAF Bombers on a raid over Morlaix in France but was lost on the return journey. His parents lived in Beach Avenue in St Annes when he was growing up.

    Parts of the Airspeed Oxford are being restored at Blackpool Airport