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BIGGIN HILL: Fundraising drive begins to replace rotting gate guardians
A NEW pair of iconic “gate guardians” could watch over an RAF chapel during the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain next year.
The St George’s RAF Chapel of Remembrance has finally been given the go ahead to start fundraising for a new replica Spitfire and Hurricane, replacing the model planes which already guard the entrance to the chapel in Biggin Hill.
The Friends of St George’s Chapel has spent a year asking the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to replace the flimsy replicas in Main Road, and have now been given the go-ahead to raise the £40,000 needed for the new models.
Chapel council secretary Joyce Pomfret said: “We consider these planes to be very important.
“The gate guardians act as a memorial for those who flew from the Biggin Hill Sector and those pilots who died during the war.”
The current replicas, owned by the MoD and made from chipboard and fibreglass, were put in place in 1989 and were thought to come from a film set.
Friends of St George’s Chapel chairman Steve Mason: “The planes are rotting from the inside. They were just something to be blown up on a film set.
“The chapel wouldn’t be the chapel if it wasn’t for the Hurricane and Spitfire.”
Peter Brothers and Geoffrey Wellum
If fundraising is a success, the new Spitfire could be marked as part of Number 92 Squadron. It may become a replica of Geoffrey Wellum’s plane when he flew out of Biggin Hill during the Battle of Britain.
His squadron would go on to destroy 127 enemy planes.
The replacement Hurricane could be in the colours of Number 32 Squadron and a replica of the late Air Commodore Peter Brothers’ plane.
The Battle of Britain raged in the skies over southern England between July and October 1940 and claimed the lives of 454 airman in the Biggin Hill Sector.
Donation cheques made payable to FoSGC can be sent to FoSGC, St Georges RAF Chapel of Remembrance, Main Road, Biggin Hill, TN16 3EJ.