The Prime Minister has given his seal of approval for plans to build a 40-metre-tall monument in Southampton to celebrate the birthplace of the Spitfire.

Rishi Sunak hosted an event at 10 Downing Street for members of The National Spitfire Project, who are looking for donors to the £6m statue.

Backed by the Echo, project organisers want to see a stainless steel rendering of the aircraft and its vapour trail in Mayflower Park, a statue twice the height of the Angel of the North.

At the event on Thursday November 30, Southampton MP Royston Smith thanked Mr Sunak.

Mr Smith said: “The Board of Trustees and the project’s supporters are honoured by this kind invitation to hold today’s event at No. 10.

Daily Echo: Southampton MP Royston Smith speaking at the eventSouthampton MP Royston Smith speaking at the event (Image: Submitted)

Daily Echo: Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at the event at Downing StreetPrime Minister Rishi Sunak at the event at Downing Street (Image: Lee Peck Media)

“With the government’s invaluable support, we look forward to seeing the Spitfire Monument proudly stand as an enduring symbol of hope, freedom, and innovation.

“It will provide a unique focal point and a place to reflect, educate, and inspire future generations.

“Rishi and I were elected to Parliament in 2015. We were both, like the Spitfire, ‘made in Southampton’ and we both share the ups and downs of supporting a mostly inconsistent football club.

"The Prime Minister’s continued and very generous support for the National Spitfire Project and his backing, both as Chancellor and Prime Minister, has been instrumental in transforming the prospects of this project.”

The Echo has been campaigning for a statue to mark the Spitfire in Southampton since 2007.

The monument would be within sight of the original Supermarine factory in Woolston, where the Spitfire was first built by engineers from more than 30 Allied countries during the Second World War.

Construction is set to take place in the autumn of 2024 and the statue should be unveiled by September 2025.

This would be just in time for the 85th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, which saw the Spitfire play a decisive role in defending the United Kingdom against Nazi air forces in 1940.

Daily Echo: The Spitfire monument in Mayflower Park would cost £6mThe Spitfire monument in Mayflower Park would cost £6m (Image: National Spitfire Project)

When he was Chancellor in 2020, Southampton-born Mr Sunak pledged to fund half of the project's £6m price tag with Government money if organisers can raise the other £3m.

Southampton City Council is set to contribute £350,000 to the project.

The council's Chief Executive, Mike Harris, described the plans as a 'remarkable monument to remember the sacrifice those young pilots made to secure our freedoms'.

Comparable to the Statue of Liberty in scale, the plane will be one and a half times the size of the actual aircraft, with a wingspan of over 16 metres.

It is expected to be seen by more than seven million people every year.

Also in attendance at the event was CEO and Executive Chair of Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, Ross McNally.

He appealed to Southampton businesses to get involved in the funding of the project.

He said: “This is a great opportunity for businesses to advertise their commitment to the next generation of engineers by celebrating our rich history and inspiring the next generation.

He added: "This monument is a fantastic opportunity to inspire a younger generation of engineers, who will grow up with the iconic monument as a staple of Southampton.

“It will also inspire tourists to visit the region and will be seen by all the cruise ships that come into the port."