Posted on 4 Feb, 2009
Shadow Welsh heritage minister Paul Davies has visited one of Pembrokeshire’s most ambitious history projects – a £1.5 million scheme to rebuild a Spitfire.
It is hoped that work will start this month on rebuilding the tail section of the Mark 8 Spitfire which is housed at Withybush airfield.
“It was fascinating to see the fuselage of the plane and to be talked through the task ahead of the team,” said Mr. Davies, who is also Preseli Pembrokeshire’s Assembly Member.
“This is an exciting project which will bring a part of history to life and will be a valuable educational tool in the county – what better way can there be to spark an interest in history than by letting pupils see and touch Britain’s most iconic plane?”
The Welsh Spitfire Company has set itself the task of raising £1.5 million in three years to buy and restore the plane. If it succeeds, the plane will be one of only five flying Spitfires of its type.
“We are hoping to start work on the tail section soon,” said company fund-raising director, Peter Kraus.
The project took a major step forward last week when, after six months of research, the Civil Aviation Authority agreed to register the Spitfire with the number G-CFGA.
“This is a major milestone for us as the CAA has now acknowledged the Pembrokeshire Spitfire; no plane can fly without being registered,” explained company managing director, Ray Burgess.
Members of the Spitfire team will now be giving talks on the project to as many local groups, schools and colleges as possible in return for practical or financial support.
“We want this to be Pembrokeshire’s plane and for people in the county to get involved. Then, when they see it flying, they can say they helped to put it back in the sky,” added Mr. Kraus.
“There’s a lot of work to be done and we hope that groups such as engineering students and local companies will be able to help us.
“People can also help in other ways, such as volunteering for our new charity shop in Willings Passage in Pembroke. The shop is going well, but I still need volunteers for three days a week and even if you can’t weld, then maybe you could help out by manning the till for a few hours.”