An historic Spitfire paying tribute to the work of the NHS is due to fly past Cornwall's hospitals today as part of the NHS Spitfire Project tour of the UK.

The World War Two aircraft will be seen over Falmouth, Helston, Truro, Redruth and Hayle - and will display the names of loved ones that people from all over the country have nominated in aid of NHS Charities Together.

It will also carry the words 'Thank U NHS' in recognition of the work healthcare professionals have carried out during the coronavirus pandemic.

The aeroplane is due to take off from Goodwood Aerodrome at 10.30am on Saturday. It will then fly past Torbay, Plymouth and Tavistock before reaching Cornwall just after 11.30am, visiting Bodmin Community Hospital at 11.34am.

It will then be flying past the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro at 11.41am, Falmouth Hospital at 11.46am and Helston Community Hospital at 11.50am.


It moves on the West Cornwall Hospital in Penzance for 11.55am, then St Michael’s Hospital in Hayle for midday, Camborne Redruth Community Hospital at 12.05pm and Newquay Hospital at 12.08pm.

It is due to land at Newquay Cornwall Airport at 12.10pm.

All route timings are estimates and subject to slight change during flight. Due to potential unforeseen factors, the flights may be postponed, or timings delayed, if congested airspace, low cloud or rain prohibits us from flying.

Ever since the NHS’s 72nd birthday on July 5 people have been donating a minimum of £10 to have a name handwritten onto the side of the family-owned Aircraft Restoration Company’s iconic blue Spitfire.

So far just short of £75,000 has been raised for charity and the aeroplane has the capacity for 80,000 names.

Falmouth Packet:

Names of loved ones are written onto the side of the Spitfire. Photo: George Lewis Romain

To add your name or that of a loved one onto the Spitfire visit

NHS Charities Together supports staff, patients and volunteers across the country.

A spokesperson for the project said: "The names will be 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.

"The aim is to lift the spirits of those across the UK, many of whom are still living in some form of isolation, whilst also thanking the hospitals, communities and individuals who have been at the forefront of getting the country through the pandemic."

It echoes the Spitfire funds of the 1940s, which were set up by local communities around the UK and commonwealth countries to encourage a sense of purpose and hope in the struggle against adversity.

This Spitfire, which was specifically built and used for photo reconnaissance during the conflict, carrying cameras instead of weapons, once again embodies the sense of freedom and togetherness that it did then.

It has has an interesting history, which includes being flown and air-raced by the famous female ATA pilot Lettice Curtis, whose signature can already be seen on its side.