Spitfire memorial against Fairhaven Lake
The newly installed nine-metre plane will be the centrepiece of a lakeside RAF Fighter and Bomber Command memorial once completed.
The full-size Spitfire sits on a plinth and pole-like support, flying in the air above Fairhaven Lake.
Volunteer and fund-raiser John Coombes said: “Residents of Lytham and St Annes raised £6,500 to buy the plane in 1941.
“Sadly, it was shot down and residents were especially touched as its pilot – Sergeant Alan Lever-Ridings – had family connections with the area.
“Allan’s mother and grandparents lived in St Annes and a number of his surviving relatives have said they will attend the unveiling.
“It was a shame that the memorial wasn’t complete by 24 June as that was when Alan lost his life. We had to make the ground stable so the memorial will last for many years to come. We can’t take half measures with such an important memorial.”
An added advantage of a Wartime Weekend unveiling – planned for Sunday 19 August – will be the huge crowds and military bands that should be present. A church service or remembrance and dedication will also be held.
Councillor Sue Fazackerley, Fylde Council cabinet member for Leisure and Culture, said: “This is a fitting tribute to the sacrifices that fighter, bomber and Coastal Command aircrews made – and especially fitting that it is in Fylde which bought its own Spitfire.
“It is a fantastic addition to Fairhaven Lake and the volunteers deserve full credit for their efforts.
“No-one should forget the frightening days of World War Two and Fylde people are proud to be hosts to such a memorial.”
Volunteers hope that the memorial will eventually incorporate an interactive information screen and a living “roll of honour” containing the names of Coastal Command, bomber and fighter aircrews.
Volunteers still need further cash support and donations can be made to: Fylde Spitfire Memorial Fund, 2 Deal Place, St Annes FY8 3EN; or via: www.w3644.com
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