‘The NHS Thank You Spitfire’ Story
THE MALLE MILE 2021
At the Malle Mile this summer, we all witnessed the rare and majestic spectacle of a Spitfire twisting and soaring over the festival. The racing stopped, the music stopped… even the commentary stopped, as 5000 guests stood in silence and watched the Spit’ swoop and dive over the grounds of Grimsthorpe Castle.. and as fast as it flew in, it was suddenly gone, leaving only applause in its wake.
We’ve had many enquires about this rare guest of The Mile and we wanted to share a little more about the story behind of ‘The NHS Thank You’ Spitfire. Back in 2020, John Romain (the pilot) and his team from ARC the Aircraft Restoration Company, had the idea to fly over every NHS hospital in the country during lockdown, to raise money for the NHS…and to boost morale across the country, during a very difficult time.
During the 1940’s, Spitfire funds were set up by local communities around the UK to encourage a sense of purpose and hope in the struggle against adversity. This Spitfire, which was specifically built and used for photo reconnaissance, carrying cameras instead of weapons, once again embodied the sense of freedom and togetherness that it did then. This Spitfire has an interesting history, which includes being flown and air-raced by the famous female ATA pilot Lettice Curtis. Lettice’s own signature can be seen on the side of this particular Spitfire, leading the way for many more to be added whilst raising money for an important cause.
The public are now being offered the unique opportunity to nominate the name of a loved one that will be hand written onto the family-owned Aircraft Restoration Company’s blue photo-reconnaissance Spitfire to raise money for NHS Charities Together.
The names have been nominated by the public as a way of recognising small acts of kindness throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. From a family member to a kind neighbour, close friend or community hero, the public can now thank them with this special gesture. In return for their donation, their nominated name will be one of those written on the Spitfire, which has an 80,000 name capacity. As the names peek on being added, the UK have been able to watch this extraordinary visual spectacle unfold.
The JustGiving.com/nhsspitfire fundraising page is open. To submit a name, you simply need to donate a minimum of £10 via the JustGiving page, fundraising for the NHS Charities Together, whose funds support staff, patients and volunteers across the country and who ultimately made it possible to host The Malle Mile this summer.
Thank you to John and George Romain, the entire team at ARC and to the NHS.