Pledges flood in for RAF memorial campaign near Leighton Buzzard

The original fundraising target has been doubled (and now met) for a campaign aiming to erect a remembrance memorial commemorating the 2,500 World War Two service personnel who served at Leighton Buzzard’s local airfield, RAF Wing.

Monday, 1st March 2021, 1:51 pm
The Martin-Baker MB3 experimental fighter about to take off at RAF Wing PHOTO: Martin-Baker Aircraft Ltd

Since a group of locals in the area, including farmers and airfield tenants, who communicate online through the Stewkley, Wing and Cublington History Group Facebook site, set up a fundraising page to raise £1,000 for this significant project, generous donations have already totalled £2,004 (time of going to press).

One of the project leaders, Nick Ellins, said: “People donating don’t want to stop, and have recognised that we were only seeking money to buy the engraved plaques and were working to secure everything else via donations and help in kind.

“We have a clear steer that we should not stop here, and should keep fundraising and be more ambitious around increasing the quality of what we want to do at the airfield.

“We are looking at procuring better plaques and talking with the landowner about the possibility for a robust bench for visitors, a remembrance book, an information board and ideas such as that.”

The memorial, which will be located by the runways and somewhere where the public can get safe access to it, will be unveiled when pandemic restrictions ease. It will include reference to the airfield’s history in relation to the Exodus Operation and the tragic loss of Valentine Henry Baker, killed at the airfield in the prototype Martin Baker MB3 Aircraft.

Mr Ellins added: “What we can’t do is push back the May deadline we set for building and unveiling the memorial. It’s important people see progress in where their money is going even if we can’t involve the community at an unveiling event.

“Any additional subsidiary we receive will likely go towards commemorating other historic events on the site.”

Nick says he is sincerely thankful to people for how quickly they have passionately responded to support the project so far.

For more information about the fundraising or to donate, visit https://www.facebook.com/donate/762775477660269/