Writing

Spitfire Tribute Memorial Aims to Take Off in Time for 80th Anniversary

A competition was launched by the Daily Echo and Telegraph in the summer of 2010, calling for the public to produce designs for the monument.

Following a response of around 350 entries, the winning design was revealed in November 2010.

Councillor John Hannides, former Cabinet member of Southampton City Council responsible for leisure and culture, backed a bid made for funding from SEDA for a tribute to the Spitfire.

Nick Hancock, an Australian architect, designed the 40m high winning design which consists of a 1.5 times scale Spitfire replica raised into the air by a giant curved stainless steel mast.

Plans began back in 2008 for the tribute to RJ Mitchell’s iconic Spitfire, which was designed and built in Southampton.

The sculpture was to be built at Trafalgar docks, but moved to Mayflower Park due to development plans for the area.

Alan Jones, Director of Solent Sky Museum and member of the original Spitfire Tribute Foundation commented: “We’re branding the city a Spitfire city.”

Planning permission was granted in December 2011, but the project faced issues and was set aside until earlier this year when the new charity, the National Spitfire Project, was born.

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, current Prime Minister David Cameron, and Defence Secretary Liam Fox have all shown their support for the tribute, which is said to be Britain’s answer to The Statue of Liberty.

Chair of the charity, Councillor John Hannides said: “The Spitfire represents something special for Southampton… This is long overdue.”

He added: “It represents the men and women who built and flew the plane, as well as its significance to the Battle of Britain.”

At least £3.5 million is required for development to go ahead, which will be funded by donations and money raised through the charity.

However, until this money is raised, the completion date cannot be predicted.

But, with the 80th anniversary of the Spitfire’s first flight approaching in 2016, Alan Jones added: “We’re working very hard. We want to see it up for that anniversary.”

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