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Bomber County Gateway Trust to create a full-size representation of Lancaster Bomber

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Groundwork started on Monday on a project to build an iconic new landmark on the Nottinghamshire/Lincolnshire border near Newark.

The Bomber County Gateway Trust is creating a full-size representation of a Lancaster Bomber, which will appear to be in flight over the countryside just a few hundred yards from the A46 Newark to Lincoln road near Norton Disney.

The sculpture, called On Freedom’s Wings, is based on the ͞VN-N͟ bomber, the most-photographed Lancaster ever, which crashed at nearby Thurlby Top Wood in September 1942.

Johnny Johnson (5519710)
Johnny Johnson (5519710)

The sculpture marks the historic link that the two counties had with Bomber Command and will be a reminder of the debt owed to all who served.

Veterans of Bomber Command, including George “Johnny” Johnson, 97, who grew up in Collingham, were at a turf-cutting ceremony in May to signal the start of the project.

The 26-metre long sculpture will be mounted on a steel frame to give the impression that it is in flight. It will not be painted, but allowed to mellow and rust over time.

The completion target for the construction phase is November 2019, provided more funds can be raised in time.

With estimated costs of more than £250,000, excluding services already donated, the trust still needs £150,000 to complete the project.

It has already been pledged thousands of pounds worth of cash and practical support by many companies, councils and individuals, including about £15,000 from crowdfunding.

The preparatory groundwork that started on Monday will include putting down more than 1,000 tonnes of concrete and steel to support the sculpture, which will weigh more than 92 tonnes.

It will be 26m long, 29m wide, and have a wingspan of more than 29 metres, making it bigger than the Angel of the North.

It is estimated that the sculpture will be seen by more than 34,000 drivers every day as they travel along the A46.

Although there will be no public access to the site, as it is on private farmland, there will be a viewing area, complete with information boards.

Planning permission conditions meant that there were a number of environmental considerations that needed to be taken into account.

Nearby Hill Holt Wood is a major bat habitat, and so there will be no floodlighting of the area to protect the environment. Four acres of poppies will be planted at the site, and insect hotels will be built.

Project trustee and project director Ken Sadler said there had been huge emotional support for the project, and he was very grateful to everyone who had given skills, materials and money so far. To support the project go to www.justgiving/crowfunding/bombercountygateway

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