A new statue has been unveiled, dedicated to remembering everyone who served at a former RAF base.
The sculpture has been officially revealed at Redrow East Midland’s Newton Garden Village, built on the former RAF Newton Airfield, in a bid to ensure the area’s rich aviation history is never forgotten. Built as part of the RAF’s ‘Expansion Period’ airfields in the prelude to Second World War, Newton opened in 1940 with Wellington bombers taking part in the ‘Battle of the Atlantic’, before the Polish Air Force moved in from 1941 to 1946. The station was then the headquarters for No12 Group Fighter Command, and the home of the RAF School of Education and the RAF Police Training School. RAF flying activities at the base ceased in 2001.
The artwork is the finale of a 12-year community project by The RAF Newton Memorial Fund by local artist and founding member of the group, Tim O’Brien, who created the initial concept drawing for the statue: a Wellington bomber pilot and his spaniel sitting on a Portland stone base.
Formed in 2011, the RAF Newton Memorial Fund is made up of volunteers who are all connected to 1936 (Newton) Squadron of the RAF cadets, and have taken on the responsibility of ensuring a permanent memorial was created to celebrate the aviation heritage of the village.
The final statue was sculpted by London-based sculptor Tom Nicholls and has been funded by Redrow East Midlands.
The finished work was unveiled at a dedication ceremony, attended by locals, veterans, and cadets. Those who attended watched a parade by cadets from East Midlands Universities’ Air Squadron and 1936 (Newton) Squadron of the RAF Air Cadets, with music provided by the marching band of the RAF Air Cadets.
When asked about the event, Tim O’Brien said: “This magnificent sculpture is the culmination of 12 years hard work by a team of volunteers, which has brought together various sections of the community to remember the aviation heritage of the area. My late grandfather served here in Second World War and my aviation art career started here with the RAF Air Cadets back in the 1980s.”
Ryan O’Sullivan, Sales Director at Redrow East Midlands, said: “We’re delighted to unveil this new statue at Newton Garden Village. We love to support local projects, so we are pleased to be funding the memorial of a World War Two airman with his dog.”
For further information about the statue, please visit https://rafnewtonmemorialfund.yolasite.com