Lancashire

Spitfire at Fairhaven Lake, Lytham, to honour pilot

A full-sized Spitfire aircraft has been installed near Fairhaven Lake in Lytham.

It is a model of the area's own plane, bought by residents to help the war effort in 1941, which was shot down in France the following year.

The commemorative Spitfire is the centre-piece of a lakeside war memorial to honour the pilots who served during World War II.

Fundraiser John Coombes said the aircraft looked "spectacular".

A three-year fundraising campaign by the Lytham St Annes Spitfire Display Team has raised £40,000 to build the memorial.

'Fitting tribute'

Residents of Lytham and St Annes raised £6,500 to buy Spitfire W3644 in 1941.

It was hit off the Devon coast while returning from escorting bombers over France.

"Sadly, it was shot down and residents were especially touched as its pilot - Sgt Alan Lever-Ridings - had family connections with the area," he said.

His mother and grandparents lived in St Annes and a number of his surviving relatives attended the unveiling of the nine metre (30ft) long Spitfire.

"It will be a fitting tribute to him but it will also serve as an education tool," Mr Coombes said.

The installation coincides with the forthcoming Wartime Weekend nearby on Lytham Green which usually attracts more than 20,000 visitors.

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