The go-ahead has been given for work to start on the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust’s iconic new visitor centre at Capel-le-Ferne – and it should be in place in time for the 75th anniversary of the Battle in 2015.
More funds are still needed to complete the high-tech experience, but Trustees are confident that they have the resources to begin work on the centre, which will be at the heart of the National Memorial.
The ‘chocks away’ decision was made at a meeting of Trustees on Thursday (13 June), and is great news for those who believe that the sacrifice and heroism of the RAF during the Battle of Britain needs to be remembered by the younger generation.
The Wing – designed in the shape of a Spitfire wing by Folkestone-based Godden Allen Lawn – will feature a learning centre as well as an exciting audio-visual presentation about life in ‘Hellfire Corner’ in the summer and early autumn of 1940.
“The fact that we now have enough money in place to start building The Wing is fantastic news and we are now determined to press ahead with raising the rest of the cash,” explained Trust chairman Richard Hunting CBE.
The Trust has been carrying out value engineering work with a number of major building companies and will announce its preferred contractor shortly.
While it has raised around £2.5m, enough to get The Wing off the ground, the Trust has pointed out that it still needs a further £1m to complete the project, which will be the only experience of its kind in the country.
“We have had huge support from supporters across the UK and beyond for this scheme and now we need businesses and individuals to come forward to help us with the final push,” said Richard. “We are close to our final target but there is a fair way to go.”
The aim is for work to start at the end of August, with the building complete by Battle of Britain Day – 15 September – next year and opened officially on Memorial Day, 2015, which will take place on Sunday 12 July that year.