'Thank you NHS' Spitfire to fly over Hemel Hempstead on Saturday

Look out for the Spitfire on Saturday afternoon

Friday, 17th July 2020, 9:21 am
Updated Friday, 17th July 2020, 9:22 am

The Spitfire that has 'Thank you NHS' written on its wings will be flying over Hemel Hempstead on Saturday afternoon.

A special Spitfire fund has been set up for people to have their name written on the iconic plane.

In return for a £10 donation to NHS Charities Together, people can nominate a loved one, a friend, kind neighbour or a community hero who has supported them during the Covid-19 pandemic.

'Thank you NHS' Spitfire to fly over Hemel Hempstead on Saturday (C) George Lewis Romain

The names will be hand-written onto the Aircraft Restoration Company's iconic, blue photo reconnaissance Spitfire.

A fundraising page has been set up for donations, to support the fund visit: JustGiving.com/nhsspitfire.

There is room for 80,000 names, and to promote the initiative the Spitfire will be making flights past communities and hospitals all over the UK throughout the summer.

The aim is to lift the spirits of those across the UK, whilst also thanking the hospitals, communities and individuals who have been at the forefront of getting the country through the pandemic.

The Spitfire was specifically built and used for photo reconnaissance during the conflict, carrying cameras instead of weapons. It was also flown and air-raced by the famous female ATA pilot Lettice Curtis and her own signature can already be seen on its side.

This Saturday (July 18) it is flying over St Albans, Hemel Hempstead, Stoke Mandeville and Milton Keynes NHS Hospitals. It is due in Hemel Hempstead at 2.40pm.

People can view progress updates and local flight routes via the Aircraft Restoration Company's websiteand Facebook.

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.

John Romain, founder and managing director of the Aircraft Restoration Company, said: “The response to our initial flight over the last 8pm #clapforourcarers 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 a positive reaction we decided to leave the message painted on the Spitfire for the rest of the flying season but also began thinking of ways we could use it to help give something back to the NHS staff who have been our heroes throughout this difficult time.

"This is where the idea to hand write 80,000 names onto the aircraft to raise money for the NHS Charities Together began.”