Boost for Doncaster Battle of Britain memorial plan

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A project to erect a Northern Battle of Britain monument has received a boost by being granted charitable status.

The development opens up new sources of potential funding to organisers and means that all donations to the £600,000 appeal will be tax-deductible.

Doncaster was chosen as the best northern location for the new monument because of its former RAF connections and accessible transport links.

The memorial, designed by a Polish sculptor, will be erected in the grounds of the South Yorkshire Aircraft Museum which was a former base of 616 (South Yorkshire) Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force whose members were among the Battle of Britain fighter pilots.

Famously described by Prime Minister Winston Churchill as “the few”, hundreds of pilots and aircrew fought a four-month campaign to thwart the planned German invasion of Britain via the English Channel in 1940. Their success turned the tide of the war and paved the way for eventual victory in Europe.

Under the slogan: “Remembering the few, reminding the many,” the Northern Battle of Britain Appeal Committee has joined forces with South Yorkshire Aircraft Museum to raise the funds needed.

Appeal committee chairman Peter Davies said that almost 3,000 aircrew had played a crucial role in the pivotal battle and should always be remembered. “The name of every victim and survivor will be listed on the Northern monument to recognise the incredible contribution each one made to secure freedom for Britain and her allies,” he added.

Chief fundraiser Sir Malcolm Guthrie, whose father Giles was a Battle of Britain pilot, said: “It is very apt that our appeal is gathering momentum in the 75th anniversary of the battle.

“This memorial will complement the ones already in existence on the South Coast and on the Embankment and give northern people the opportunity to pay their own tributes to those who defended this country so bravely.”

Organisers expect the sculpture to attract visitors from across the UK and beyond and hope it will become a focus for educational visits to reinforce the battle’s major impact on the course of history. A model of the monument can be seen at the museum.

The committee has also applied for Gift Aid to increase the value of contributions and donations can be made to the Northern Battle of Britain Monument Appeal at South Yorkshire Aircraft Museum, Dakota Way, Airborne Road, Doncaster, DN4 7FB.