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Fundraising target met for Spitfire memorial project

PUBLISHED: 10:24 23 April 2019 | UPDATED: 10:59 23 April 2019

The Langham Dome museum, and behind, the former airfield land. Picture: Stuart Anderson

The Langham Dome museum, and behind, the former airfield land. Picture: Stuart Anderson

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A Spitfire memorial project in north Norfolk should be completed by the end of the summer season after a fundraising campaign reached its target.

Dome before and after restoration. Spitfire memorial project at RAF Langham Dome.  Pictures: supplied by John Blakeley/ Matt KealDome before and after restoration. Spitfire memorial project at RAF Langham Dome. Pictures: supplied by John Blakeley/ Matt Keal

A full-sized silver replica of a Supermarine Spitfire is planned to sit alongside the dome and visitor centre at the now disused airfield at RAF Langham, near Wells.

It will be mounted on a plinth next to the building once used to train anti-aircraft gunners, off Cockthorpe Road. The Spitfire was given to the Friends of Langham Dome charity by the RAF Museum at Hendon.

In the museum the Spitfire was mounted internally, but for the dome museum the only option is to strengthen it structurally and securely mount it on a plinth outside - where it will be subject to the vagaries of the weather. It would be 9.5m long and boast a wingspan of 11.2m.

About £20,000 of the £35,000 needed for the Langham Dome Spitfire Memorial Appeal was raised through various grants and functions.

Dome before and after restoration. Spitfire memorial project at RAF Langham Dome.  Pictures: supplied by John Blakeley/ Matt KealDome before and after restoration. Spitfire memorial project at RAF Langham Dome. Pictures: supplied by John Blakeley/ Matt Keal

The friends started a crowdfunding page to raise the extra £15,000 and trustee John Blakeley said: “Our appeal was very successful and we had pledges in excess of the £15,000 target from 100 very generous donors.

“The appeal also generated some donations from outside the crowdfunding page including a major donation from our anonymous US donor.

“We are now in a position to plan the completion of this project and we hope that before the end of this season the Spitfire will be mounted outside the dome.”

The Dome re-opened for the 2019 season earlier this month and will be open until the end of the October half-term.

How the mounted Spitfire could look at RAF Langham Dome.  Pictures: supplied by John Blakeley/ Matt KealHow the mounted Spitfire could look at RAF Langham Dome. Pictures: supplied by John Blakeley/ Matt Keal

Meanwhile, plans for the RAF Langham Reunion and Dome Heritage Day on Saturday, June 1 are now firming up.

A request for Battle of Britain Memorial Flight participation was granted and there will be a full display by a Hurricane as well as an aerobatic display with the Extra 260 flown by Steve Carver.

Visitors are urged to go in 1940s dress and win a prize. There will be live 1940s music from the Blighty Belles and many other exhibits.

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