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Ideas for Southampton's new Spitfire memorial pouring in
MORE than 300 potential designs have been entered into a competition to find what Southampton’s new memorial to the Spitfire should look like.
The search for a fitting tribute to the iconic aircraft, which will stand proudly at the entrance to the city’s waterfront, has attracted entries from across Europe.
All the possible designs for the 180ft statue will now go on display at Southampton’s Solent Sky Museum later this month.
Museum director Alan Jones said the response to the competition, which closed on Monday, had been “very, very gratifying”.
He a d d e d t h a t a r o u n d £5,000 in donations had also been sent in with the entries, helping kick off the fundraising effort for the memorial.
Squadron Leader Jones said: “It’s been fantastic. From the response it’s something you feel people really want to see happen.
“It’s quite prescriptive saying that it has to be a replica of the aircraft, but it’s amazing the difference in the designs that have come in.
“We’ve had everything from computer-designed graphics to sketches almost on the back of envelopes by children.”
The Spitfire Tribute Foundation needs to raise £2m to build the replica, which will be more than three times the size of the original legendary fighter plane and form part of a major regeneration of Southampton’s old docks.
No taxpayers’ cash is being spent on the project, which has won the backing of Prime Minister David Cameron.
His predecessor, Gordon Brown, described the statue as Southampton’s equivalent of the Statue of Liberty when he launched a fundraising drive at a Downing Street reception.
The landmark will be built on land beside the historic Trafalgar dry dock, alongside the state-of-the-art £19m Ocean Terminal, which opened to cruise passengers last year.
The site is just two miles from the Supermarine Aviation site where RJ Mitchell developed the aircraft, which played a critical role in the Battle of Britain.
It is hoped the memorial will be in place by the end of 2011, which is the 75th anniversary of Spitfire’s maiden flight at Eastleigh. There has been a long-running Daily Echobacked campaign to honour those who built and flew the Spitfire.
Work will now begin to select a shortlist of six entries, which will be studied by engineers from the University of Southampton to check they are structurally feasible.
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