People across Cornwall have been staring at the sky this morning as an historic Spitfire flew past in tribute to the NHS.

The World War Two aircraft could be seen over Falmouth, Helston, Truro, Redruth and Hayle, displaying the words 'Thank U NHS' in recognition of the work healthcare professionals have carried out during the coronavirus pandemic.

It also carried the names of loved ones that people from all over the country have nominated in aid of NHS Charities Together.

Falmouth Packet:

The Spitfire over Helston Community Hospital. Photo: Kathy White

Cornwall was the latest route in the NHS Spitfire Project tour of the UK's hospitals and people were out with their cameras to capture it.

They included Packet Camera Club members, many of which took photos of the aeroplane as it flew over Falmouth Hospital.

Falmouth Packet:

The Spitfire in Falmouth. Photo: Jory Mundy

The aeroplane took off from Goodwood Aerodrome at 10.30am this morning and then then flew past Torbay, Plymouth and Tavistock before reaching Cornwall just after 11.30am, visiting Bodmin Community Hospital at 11.34am.

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


The aeroplane moved 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 landed at Newquay Cornwall Airport at around 12.10pm.

Falmouth Packet:

Packet Camera Club member Sue Court captured this photo in Falmouth

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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.

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

Falmouth Packet:

Flying over Camborne Redruth Hospital. Photo: Steve York

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."

Falmouth Packet:

Crowds come out to watch in Helston at the Cottage Hospital Roundabout. Photo: Kathy White 

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.

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