Iconic fighter plane is latest exhibit at Fenland and West Norfolk Aviation Museum
An iconic Spitfire is set to be a star attraction at the Fenland and West Norfolk Aviation Museum thanks to the generosity of its owner.
The full-size replica of the fighter plane which saw victory in the skies over Britain during WW2 arrived at its new home on Friday travelling from Heacham on a transport lorry.
The plane, which belongs to Paul Linsell, of Heacham, has been loaned to the museum for an initial period of four years.
It was once housed outside the American museum at Duxford Imperial War Museum, but it was damaged during a gale, as it was not properly tethered, exactly what happened after that is not clear, but, Paul eventually came to own it, and has had it on his lawn for the past seven years.
Jim Paradine, chairman of the museum, explained he learned about the plane from a visitor in 2017.
"Of course I was immediately interested and said I would love to know more about the plane and would also like to see it and the visitor agreed to pass on contact details of the museum," said Jim.
He continued: "I was invited to go and see the Spitfire and to be honest I wasn't expecting much, people say a lot of things, but they are not always accurate. But I couldn't believe my eyes when I arrived at the house in Heacham. It is set back down a driveway and as I came round the bend there it was sat on the lawn - a full-size MK9 Spitfire, it was a fantastic sight.
"At first Paul was not over keen on letting it go, but I said if ever he wanted to move it, to let the museum have first refusal. Since then he has relocated a Hurricane fuselage to the museum which he is renovating and now he has generously allowed us to have the Spitfire on loan.
"At the moment the wings are off it because we had to transport it, and because it has been sat outside it needs some renovation work.
"It being a replica also means the cockpit is not there, but Paul is planning to make it so that it is complete, so in the future people will be able to look in, and under supervision even sit in the cockpit.
"We will be moving the Spitfire under cover in the near future, while it is worked on. It is a really exciting addition to our museum and we are really grateful to have it."
The Fenland and West Norfolk Aviation Museum is housed at the Bambers site off Old Lynn Road, in West Walton, and is home to aviation memorabilia as well as planes recovered from crash sites across East Anglia.
It is open weekends 9.30am to 5pm.