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‘Flight’ delayed by a year, but floral Spitfire soon ready for ‘action’

Better late than never – Battle of Britain tribute shows fighting spirit

A large floral Spitfire is being constructed in Ashford to commemorate the anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

Aspire Landscape Management will be planting the sculpture in Memorial Gardens. It will be made up of 3,400 plants, weighing around one ton and with a wingspan of 4m, and a 3.5m long fuselage.

It had been intended to have the Spitfire in the gardens last summer to mark the 80th anniversary, but the plan was delayed because of the Coronavirus pandemic.

The display will be accompanied with three large panels telling the story about Kent’s involvement with the Battle of Britain and the county’s connection to the iconic plane. Kent was the only county in the country to fundraise to buy a squadron of Spitfires to contribute to the war effort. The panels are being funded by the EU Regional Development Welcome Back Fund as town centres reopen after coronavirus restrictions are lifted.

Focal point

Cllr Andrew Buchanan, portfolio holder for environment and land management, says: “Aspire have made some fantastic floral sculptures over the past few years, and this Spitfire will be a spectacular focal point in the Memorial Gardens.

“It symbolises the British fighting spirit and how we will come back from the problems of Coronavirus stronger than before.”

Cllr Andrew Buchanan

Cllr Matthew Forest, portfolio holder for culture, tourism and leisure, says: “The Battle of Britain was fought in the skies above Kent and the Spitfire is one of the iconic symbols of the war. It is important to commemorate the airmen who became known as The Few, who gave their lives to keep us safe. This floral sculpture will be a fitting tribute.”

You can view the panels at www.ashford.gov.uk/battle-of-britain

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David Buckley

Dave Buckley is a career journalist. “I once went painting girders for a week and discovered I didn’t like heights,” he says. “Apart from that it has always been journalism for me in one form or another.” Past local weekly publications he has worked for include: the South-East London Mercury* covering the Borough of Greenwich as a junior reporter; Orpington-based News Shopper as a sub-editor; and the Kent Messenger when based in Larkfield, Maidstone, as deputy chief sub-editor. He has also worked for the following dailies/nationals: Daily Express, Today*, News of the World* and Hong Kong Star*. All those marked with an asterisk no longer exist (trend emerging?). He owned and edited a Thailand-based property magazine before returning to England and currently works as a production editor on a car fleet magazine. His first foray into property ownership saw him move from London to Rainham (the Gillingham, Kent, variety). He has subsequently lived in Chislehurst, Petts Wood and Orpington in the Borough of Bromley (which he still regards as being in Kent). In more recent years he owned three different properties on the Kings Hill (West Malling) development.

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