Thank You NHS Spitfire to soar over Wolverhampton and Birmingham

A Spitfire bearing the names of thousands of heroes of the coronavirus pandemic will fly over the West Midlands tomorrow to pay tribute to the NHS.

The NHS Spitfire will fly over the county
The NHS Spitfire will fly over the county

The former Second World War aircraft, with 'Thank U NHS' painted on the underside, is touring hospitals around the country while raising money for NHS Charities Together.

People across the county who are eager to spot the NHS Spitfire should keep their eyes on the skies tomorrow morning.

After taking off from Duxford Airfield, near Cambridge, it is due to fly past Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham at 10.40am and then New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton at 10.45am

It is then due to fly to Shropshire and arrive at Telford's Princess Royal Hospital at 10.51am and Ludlow Community Hospital at 11.02am.

Meanwhile, residents are being offered the opportunity to nominate the name of a loved one to be handwritten onto the Aircraft Restoration Company’s blue photo-reconnaissance plane in aid of NHS Charities Together.

From a family member to a kind neighbour, close friend or community hero, the nominated names are to recognise small acts of kindness throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

John Romain, founder and managing director of Aircraft Restoration Company, said: “The response to our initial flight over the last 8pm clap for carers Thursday was incredibly humbling, with hundreds of people from the local community sharing how wonderful it was to not only see the Spitfire, but also to read the message emblazoned across its wings.

"After such positive response we decided to leave the message painted on the Spitfire for the rest of the flying season, this is where the idea to hand write the names of the nation’s loved ones onto the aircraft to raise money for the NHS Charities Together began.”

There is the capacity for 80,000 names to be written on the Spitfire and nominations can be made at JustGiving.com/nhsspitfire, together with a minimum £10 donation, before the September 20 deadline.

People are asked to state their loved one’s name and reason for nomination in their donation comment.

It aims to lift the spirits of people across the UK, whilst also thanking the hospitals, communities and individuals who have been at the forefront of getting the country through the pandemic.

During the 1940s, Spitfire funds were set up by local communities around the UK and commonwealth countries to encourage a sense of purpose and hope in the struggle against adversity.

This Spitfire, which was specifically built and used for photo reconnaissance during the conflict, carrying cameras instead of weapons, will now once again embody the sense of freedom and togetherness that it did then.

It has an interesting history, which includes being flown and air-raced by the famous female Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) pilot Lettice Curtis, whose signature has already been added.

The fundraising scheme launched last month, on the NHS’s 72nd birthday, and has already raised more than £30,000.

The route timings are estimates and could change.

Visit www.aircraftrestorationcompany.com/nhsspitfire to view the full flight schedule.

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