Spitfire aircraft replica now in museum's hands after being loaned by Heacham owner
After being kept in a Heacham man’s garden for seven years, a replica Spitfire plane has been relocated to a museum.
The Fenland and West Norfolk Aviation Museum will be loaned the Spitfire for an initial period of four years.
Paul Linsell, of Heacham, had acquired the Second World War aircraft after it had been housed at the Imperial War Museum in Duxford.
Mr Linsell purchased the plane for around £6,000 from a friend after the Spitfire had been damaged in a gale and was therefore no longer required at Duxford.
Jim Paradine, the chairman of the aviation museum, said the plane will be fully redecorated.
The wings will also need to be reattached to the plane with the potential for it to become open to the public to view up close in “three or four months”.
Mr Paradine said: “About 18 months ago we had a visitor at the museum and we were chatting about World War II aircraft.
“He then told me he has a friend who has renovated a Hurricane fuselage and now has a replica Spitfire in his garden.
“After expressing an interest in it, I went to his house at Heacham not with any great expectations I have to admit.
“I really thought it would be a three-quarter size replica or something along those lines but I must admit I was pleasantly surprised.
“As I walked up the path I could not believe my eyes, sitting on the grass staring down the pathway was effectively a mark nine Spitfire”.
The museum is hoping to renovate the cockpit of the plane so visitors can inspect it, and possibly even sit in it in the future.
Mr Paradine added: “Where else can you stand next to a Spitfire? At Duxford you would be behind a barrier”.
The museum has expressed interest in keeping the plane on for longer when the initial four-year loan has expired.
It remains the property of Mr Linsell but the museum will store it next to the Hurricane fuselgae.
“At the end of that period it may well stay here, it’s an impressive looking thing” Mr Paradine said.
“You can see a lot of pictures of Spitfires but it’s only when you get close to them that you get an impression of the size and complexities of it”.
The museum is located on Old Lynn Road at Walton Highway. For more information call 01945 461771.