Helping make way for tribute to pilot and poet

The team of local people and Lincolnshire Co-op staff during the clean-up.
The team of local people and Lincolnshire Co-op staff during the clean-up.

Volunteers have spruced up an open space in a village near Sleaford to help make way for a memorial to a Second World War pilot and poet.

The team carried out the work at Mill Field, Wellingore, as part of plans to create a tribute at the site to John Magee, a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force who died in the area in 1941.

Magee had been living in Wellingore at the time of his death and people from across the world travel to the village in light of his connection to it. Magee is known for his poem High Flight, the official poem of the Royal Candadian Air Force and Royal Air Force.

Last Tuesday, volunteers worked through the cold and rain to help prepare the site for the proposed memorial, weeding, pruning, and generally sprucing up.

They comprised local people and staff from Lincolnshire Co-op, which was supporting the effort as part of its Big Co-op Clean campaign. This sees the organisation head out into the community to volunteer on environmental projects.

The memorial is being developed by the John Gillespie Magee Foundation with the support of Wellingore Parish Council.

Speaking last Tuesday, Roger Cole, who is spearheading the project and is chairman of the council, said: “People from all over the world visit Wellingore and are surprised that we don’t have a memorial for John Magee. This is now becoming a reality thanks to the people who are here today, supporting our work and helping us break ground to create the memorial park. It’s been a truly landmark day for the project.”

It is estimated £350,000 will be needed to create the memorial, which is to include a 9ft bronze statue, and fundraising is to take place. To support the project, email rogeracole@btinternet.com