Star gazing inspires fund raising

Stunning photography, unique signatures and an evocative location have been brought together in a remarkable fund-raising campaign for the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust.

Photographer Greg Esson combines his interests of astronomy and photography by taking spectacular pictures of the night sky, and in March this year his search for a special location took  him to the National Memorial to the Few at Capel-le-Ferne, where his shot of Venus, Jupiter and the crescent moon would become even more inspirational.

Greg produced a remarkable series of photographs that combined the dramatic backdrop of the night sky with the evocative foreground created by the national memorial’s famous statue of the seated airman and offered them to the Trust as a fund-raising opportunity.

Two of the photographs were then signed, one by five former Air Chief Marshals and the current RAF board and the other by Sir Patrick Moore and the Sky at Night team, the Astronomer Royal Lord Rees, astro-photographer Damian Peach and Paul Andrew, President of South East Kent Astronomical Society.

Jessops of Sturry Road Canterbury printed the pictures as their contribution towards the fund-raising appeal and Hobbycraft at Westwood Cross donated the frames and mounts and special markers for the signatures.

The first of the two pictures – Absent Friends, signed by the astronomers – was auctioned at the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust’s gala dinner at the RAF Club in October, raising £300 towards the Trust’s appeal to build a The Wing at the site.

The next stage of Greg’s fund-raising plan is to use some of the other photographs he took that evening for a range of postcards, greetings cards and posters that will be sold at the shop on the site at Capel-le-Ferne. The second framed and signed photograph will also be sold at a future Trust event.

“I hope to have this project fully sponsored by local organisations so that every penny of every sale goes to the Wing Appeal, said Greg. “This is a really worthwhile cause and the pictures offer an interesting view of the Memorial with the night sky in the background.” Potential sponsors for the project can contact Greg at

Trust chairman Richard Hunting CBE commented: “Greg’s photographs are stunning and we are delighted that he has been so generous in allowing the Trust to benefit from his skills and his vision.”

The poster version of the picture that sold at auction with added signatures


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