Spitfire and Destroyers fundraisers planned

Dromara Local History Group is hoping the road is smooth and the sky’s the limit when it comes to fundraising plans in aid of two worthy beneficiaries.

Ray Burrows chairman Ulster Aviation Society in the cockpit of their Spitfire. INUS0214-UAS1

First up, on June 16, the group is planning a table quiz in aid of the Ulster Aviation Society’s Spitfire Fund and three days later, on June 19, with feet firmly back on the ground, they hope to gather up a boost to the Dromara Destroyers’ Tribute Fund.

The 8pm quiz in the village’s Square One Restaurant was inspired by the group’s visit to the Long Kesh hangar where Ulster Aviation are hoping to restore a recently purchased Supermarine Spitfire, the WWII fighter aircraft which, along with the more numerous but arguably less well-known Hawker Hurricane, carried allied pilots to victory in the Battle of Britain.

Being a local history group, they have delved into the past for evidence of local support when the original Spitfire Fund paid for construction of the vital planes.

“In 1940,” said the group’s Joan Browne, “the people of Dromara supported the Spitfire Fund and I have copies of The Leader from 24th August 1940 reporting how Artana and Dromara Young Farmers’ club (today simply Artana YFC) held a fete and dance where the proceeds were going to the fund.

“A further copy of The Leader, dated 4 September, told of them having raised £2 and they added a further £3 from their funds to make it £5 in total, which would have been quite a lot in those days.

“Also in the 24 August issue, Kinallen Football Club held a match on 29 August and again proceeds went to the Spitfire Fund.

“We also know Jimmy Creighton also held events to support the fund, so we are keeping up the tradition today some 74 years later.”

Admission is £5 and a light supper will be served.

Then, at 8pm on June 19 in the Lagan Park Centre, as part of the Heifer Ridge Festival (that being what ‘Dromara’ means) the group is holding an evening with the Dromara Destroyers.

“They will be interviewed and tell some of their stories and their experiences during their racing careers,” said Joan.

“All proceeds from the minimum donation of £5 admission will go towards their tribute fund.

“Agai,n a light supper will be provided.”