NHS Spitfire tours south of England hospitals

A Spitfire bearing the names of thousands of heroes of the coronavirus pandemic has performed flypasts of hospitals across the south of England.

The NHS Spitfire, which also has “Thank U NHS” emblazoned on the underside of its wings, visited 20 hospitals from Essex to Dorset.

Its owners are handwriting 80,000 names on the aircraft to help raise money for NHS Charities Together.

The appeal has so far raised more than £20,000.

John Romaine, pilot and founder of the Aircraft Restoration Company, said: “It’s been fantastic. To see the people on the ground waving at you is humbling. The reaction from the people on the ground and the support has been amazing.”

The aircraft flew over hospitals in Southend, Medway, Canterbury, Margate, Dover, Folkestone, Ashford, Hastings, Bexhill, Eastbourne, Brighton, Worthing, Bognor Regis, Chichester, Portsmouth, Newport, Poole, Bournemouth, Southampton and Salisbury.

Organisers are planning further tours in other parts of the country throughout the summer.

The former World War Two reconnaissance Spitfire PL983 ‘L’, based at Duxford in Cambridgeshire, had been conducting flypasts over neighbouring villages during the Thursday Clap For Carers events during the peak of the coronavirus crisis.

People have been invited to nominate the names of “local heroes” who have helped or inspired them during the Covid-19 pandemic to add to the aircraft in return for a minimum £10 donation to NHS charities.


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