Battle of Britain Memorial Trustees welcomed a very special visitor to Capel-le-Ferne when Maggie Appleton MBE, the chief executive of London’s RAF Museum, dropped in for a tour of the site.
Maggie, who has 20 years’ experience in the heritage sector, will be responsible for the RAF Museum during a major transformation that will include overseeing its response to the centenary of the RAF in 2018.
She was shown around the country’s foremost memorial to the heroes of the Battle of Britain by Trust chairman Richard Hunting CBE, secretary Patrick Tootal, Trustee Andy Simpson and site manager Jules Gomez.
Maggie, who enjoyed a special screening of the unique film that runs in The Scramble Experience, confessed to being “absolutely bowled over” by the clifftop site, adding: “It’s the emotional connections the site makes that are so strong.”
She was told about the various stages of development at the site, from the original National Memorial to the Few, unveiled by Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother in 1993, to the opening of The Wing by Her Majesty the Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh in 2015.
But while more features have added to the interest of what has become one of the top tourist attractions in Kent, the chairman stressed that the peaceful open area surrounding the Memorial would always be kept clear, at the request of The Queen Mother herself.
Maggie also paused at the Christopher Foxley-Norris Memorial Wall, which lists every one of the aircrew who took part in The Battle, and found the name of Wing Commander Tom Neil, DFC*, AFC, a personal hero of hers.
She said the Spitfire wing-shaped Wing building and the views over the Channel, allied to the content in The Scramble Experience and the atmosphere of the site, together made for an unforgettable visit.
“I am determined to return soon with my family,” she concluded.