ES News email

A Spitfire fighter will take to the skies over southern England on Saturday to honour the work of NHS staff and other key workers amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The event is being organised by the Aircraft Restoration Company, a family-owned firm that restores vintage aircraft, and will see the historic single-seat fighter soar over an array of hospitals.

The plane will fly through Kent, Sussex, Hampshire and Buckinghamshire, among other places, during the course of two flypasts and a message reading “THANK U NHS” will be emblazoned across the underside of the aircraft.

The gesture marks the latest effort by the Aircraft Restoration Company to thank Britain’s key workers for their efforts during the Covid-19 crisis, with the firm, which is based on Duxford Airfield, near Cambridge, having flown its blue Spitfire PL983 ‘L’ every Thursday during lockdown to support the clap for our carers campaign.

The Spitfire is the most famous Second World War-era plane (Getty Images)

As part of its efforts, the company is also offering Brits the chance to nominate the name of a loved one to be hand-written onto ‘L’ this summer.

“The names we would like to add are those of your local heroes,” it said in a statement.

“A kind neighbour, family member on the front line, volunteer PPE producer, or anyone who has helped/inspired you through the Covid-19 Pandemic. You can now say thank you to them by nominating their name for inclusion in the 80,000 names to go onto the NHS Spitfire.”

Those wishing to nominate someone are required to donate a minimum of £10 to a JustGiving page set up by the Aircraft Restoration Company. All proceeds raised will be donated to NHS Charities Together.

As for tomorrow’s flypasts, here’s where, and when, you can catch a glimpse of the historic spitfire aircraft on its route:

First flight 
11.00amDuxford Airfield: take off
11.15amSouthend University Hospital NHS
11.25amKent and Canterbury Hospital NHS
11.30amQueen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital NHS – Margate
11.37amBuckland Hospital NHS – Dover
11.42amRoyal Victoria Hospital NHS – Folkestone
11.46amWilliam Harvey Ashford Hospital NHS
11.55amConquest Hospital NHS – Hastings
12.00pmBexhill Hospital NHS
12.05pmEastbourne District General Hospital NHS
12.10pmBrighton General & Royal Sussex County Hospital NHS
12.18pmWorthing Hospital NHS
12.25pmBognor Regis War Memorial Hospital NHS
12.30pmGoodwood Aerodrome: landing
Second flight 
3.00pmGoodwood Aerodrome: take off
3.05pmQueen Alexandra Hospital NHS – Portsmouth
3.10pmSt Mary’s Hospital NHS – Newport, Isle of Wight
3.20pmPoole Hospital NHS
3.25pmRoyal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS
3.32pmUniversity Hospital Southampton NHS
3.42pmBasingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital NHS
3.47pmFrimley Park Hospital NHS
3.51pmRoyal Berkshire Hospital NHS – Reading
4.00pmAmersham Hospital NHS
4.08pmJohn Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford
4.15pmWatford General Hospital NHS
4.30pmDuxford Airfield: landing

The NHS celebrated its 72nd anniversary in early July after facing the most challenging year in its history amid the Covid-19 crisis.

More than 100,000 hospital inpatients have been treated for coronavirus in the UK, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson, along with many more who suffered with the illness at home.