The owners of Biggin Hill’s Spitfire Cafe have celebrated three years in business with a special visit from a 97-year-old war veteran who captured the nation’s heart earlier this year.

Fergus Anckorn, who is the longest serving member of the magic circle and also appeared on Britain’s Got Talent, was captured by the Japanese during the fall of Singapore.

As a prisoner of war he was forced to work on the Burma railway, but he used magic to survive the starvation and exhaustion that killed many others.

He performed tricks to keep the Japanese guards entertained, which resulted in him and his friends getting extra food rations and longer breaks.

Spitfire café owner Sally O’Connor and her husband Barry took over the business on August 16, 2013.

Three years later they marked the occasion, which happened to fall on the day of their Breakfast Club, with Mr Anckorn and a trip to the RAF Chapel of Remembrance.

News Shopper:

Fergus Anckorn and Sally O'Connor with other veterans and supporters at the RAF Chapel of Remembrance. Picture by Ady Shaw.

Mrs O’Connor, 49, told News Shopper: “We had a very special Biggin Hill Veterans Breakfast Club on Tuesday.

“We had WW2 veteran Fergus Anckorn, 97, who was seriously injured in a bombing but went on to survive a massacre, starvation, and slavery on the infamous Death Railway that featured in the film Bridge on the River Kwai.”

Photographer Ady Shaw went with Mr Anckorn to visit the Biggin Hill Heritage Hanger, before they met back at the RAF Chapel of Remembrance.

Mr Anckorn’s story was shared with the nation when magician and serving soldier Richard Jones performed tricks and told the veteran’s story in the finale of this year’s Britain’s Got Talent.

At the end of his performance, the Union Jack flag on stage was dropped to reveal the Second World War hero in the flesh.

His visit coincided with the café’s Breakfast Club, which has been running since April this year and gives veterans the opportunity to meet up, chat, and seek help if they need it.

“The Breakfast Clubs are held all over the country,” Mrs O’Connor said.

“But there was nothing in Biggin Hill. I thought where we are it’s so appropriate for that.”

During their time running the Spitfire Café, the couple have held many fundraising events and lent a helping hand to veterans in need.

News Shopper:

Rodney Scrase enjoying his new scooter.

In June this year a former Spitfire pilot who fought in the Second World War was surprised with a brand new mobility scooter.

Flight Lieutenant Rodney Scrase DFC had been using a second hand mobility scooter after his was stolen from outside his home in Bromley almost a year ago.

And when his replacement scooter broke the Biggin Hill community came together once again to get the 94-year-old back on the move.