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US Spitfire owner offers to match money raised for memorial appeal

PUBLISHED: 10:41 07 February 2019 | UPDATED: 11:10 07 February 2019

The Langham Dome museum, and behind, the former airfield land. Picture: Stuart Anderson

The Langham Dome museum, and behind, the former airfield land. Picture: Stuart Anderson

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A US Spitfire owner has offered to match any money raised to complete a memorial project in north Norfolk.

An artisit's impression of how the Spitfire replica would look at Langham Dome. Image: PLANNING DOCUMENTSAn artisit's impression of how the Spitfire replica would look at Langham Dome. Image: PLANNING DOCUMENTS

A full-sized silver replica of a Supermarine Spitfire is planned to sit alongside the dome and visitor centre at the now disused airfield at RAF Langham, near Wells.

It will be mounted on a plinth next to the building once used to train anti-aircraft gunners, off Cockthorpe Road. The Spitfire was given to the Friends of Langham Dome charity by the RAF Museum at Hendon and is seen as an added attraction for visitors, which will increase footfall.

In the RAF Museum the Spitfire was mounted internally, but for the dome museum the only option is to strengthen it structurally and securely mount it on a plinth outside - where it will be subject to the vagaries of the weather. It would be 9.5m long and boast a wingspan of 11.2m.

About £20,000 of the £35,000 needed for the Langham Dome Spitfire Memorial Appeal was raised through various grants and functions.

The dome after restoration.  Pictures: supplied by Langham DomeThe dome after restoration. Pictures: supplied by Langham Dome

And now the Friends, which saved and restored the dome, has started a crowdfunding page to raise the extra £15,000.

Trustee John Blakeley said: “A US Spitfire owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, has offered to double the money we raise, so if we raise £7,500, he will double it, to make up the £15,000.

“The Spitfire was designed to be inside the museum, so it needs to be strengthened and properly aerodynamic or it could be flying across north Norfolk.”

The dome is one of the last few remaining structures, of which 43 were built in the UK during the Second World War, made to house the Dome Trainer - a war-winning and essential invention used for anti-aircraft gunnery training.

The dome before restoration. Pictures: supplied by Langham Dome.The dome before restoration. Pictures: supplied by Langham Dome.

It’s the only one which has been saved and converted into a visitor centre and museum - with a multitude of exhibits and films telling both the story of the technology and use of the then secret AA trainer and also the history of RAF Langham.

for more information, visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/langham-dome-spitfire-memorial

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