Spitfire flies over hospitals in tribute to NHS workers who risked lives during coronavirus pandemic


A NHS Spitfire flew over the UK as a tribute to the hard work of frontline heroes who risked their lives during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Millions of Brits watched the plane as it passed over the skies this weekend to commemorate the work of the NHS and key workers. 

The blue Spitfire PL983 ‘L’ flew over 27 hospitals across the south east – emblazoned with the names of 80,000 NHS heroes. 

The blue Spitfire PL983 'L' flew over 27 hospitals across the south east of England on August 1 - emblazoned with the names of 80,000 NHS heroes

The blue Spitfire PL983 ‘L’ flew over 27 hospitals across the south east of England on August 1 – emblazoned with the names of 80,000 NHS heroes

John Romain, pictured, flew the NHS Spitfire over the country to thank the NHS workers who risked their lives during the coronavirus crisis

John Romain, pictured, flew the NHS Spitfire over the country to thank the NHS workers who risked their lives during the coronavirus crisis 

The plane, which had previously been flown every Thursday during lockdown to thank key workers, made two trips across the country this afternoon

The plane, which had previously been flown every Thursday during lockdown to thank key workers, made two trips across the country this afternoon

Family members, neighbours and friends have also been nominated by members of the public and their names were hand painted on the aircraft. 

The Spitfire, flown by pilot John Romain, set off on August 1 for a special flight in tribute to the hard work of the NHS staff during the pandemic.

The plane, which had previously been flown every Thursday during lockdown to thank key workers, made two trips across the country this afternoon. 

The plane took off on its first route from Duxford Airfield, near Cambridge, at 11am before flying over Southend University Hospital and 17 others before landing at Goodwood Aerodrome at 12:30pm.

It took off from Goodwood Aerodrome in Chichester, West Sussex, at 3pm before flying over the Queen Alexandra Hospital NHS in Portsmouth. 

It flew over a further 10 hospitals before landing back at Duxford.  

The plane made two trips, taking off on its first route from Duxford Airfield, near Cambridge, at 11am. It landing at Goodwood Aerodrome in Chichester

The plane made two trips, taking off on its first route from Duxford Airfield, near Cambridge, at 11am. It landing at Goodwood Aerodrome in Chichester

The aircraft landed at Goodwood Aerodrome in Chichester, West Sussex, after its first route before taking off again at 3pm on its second route

The aircraft landed at Goodwood Aerodrome in Chichester, West Sussex, after its first route before taking off again at 3pm on its second route

A spokesman for The Aircraft Restoration Company said: ‘Saying and receiving a thank you is one of the simplest pleasures enjoyed by humankind, it takes the smallest of efforts but can carry vast meaning.

‘So, how could we give people an opportunity to join us in saying thank you to the NHS whilst also giving them the opportunity to thank someone closer to home… well, this is what we’ve come up with.

The plane had the message ‘THANK U NHS’ painted on the underside of its wings by the Aircraft Restoration Company, a firm which restores vintage aircrafts. 

Nurses take pictures of the Spitfire as it flies over Southend University Hospital, South End, Essex on the first route of the day

Nurses take pictures of the Spitfire as it flies over Southend University Hospital, South End, Essex on the first route of the day

The plane, which has 'THANK U NHS' on the underside of the wings, flew over Peterborough City Hospital, pictured, as a tribute to frontline workers

The plane, which has ‘THANK U NHS’ on the underside of the wings, flew over Peterborough City Hospital, pictured, as a tribute to frontline workers

Pilot John Romain landed the NHS Spitfire in Chichester. The plane had the message 'THANK U NHS' painted on the underside of its wings by the Aircraft Restoration Company

Pilot John Romain landed the NHS Spitfire in Chichester. The plane had the message ‘THANK U NHS’ painted on the underside of its wings by the Aircraft Restoration Company

From July 5 to September 20 the Aircraft Restoration Company will be handwriting 80,000 names onto the Spitfire. 

You can nominate someone’s name to be painted on the aircraft by donating a minimum of £10 to the NHS Charities Together charity. 

Nominations should be sent to the JustGiving page, with the name and reason for the nomination, before the deadline of September 20.  

Owners will be adding the names of the local heroes throughout the summer and sharing updates on social media pages.       

More flights are planned in the coming weeks. 

The Aircraft Restoration Company will be handwriting 80,000 names onto the Spitfire and people can nominate their loved ones by donating money to the NHS Charities Together charity

The Aircraft Restoration Company will be handwriting 80,000 names onto the Spitfire and people can nominate their loved ones by donating money to the NHS Charities Together charity 

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