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Last Updated: Friday, 5 March, 2004, 16:59 GMT
Fly-past for spitfire sculpture
The sculpture
The replica Spitfire stands outside Southampton International Airport
A long-awaited memorial sculpture to mark the anniversary of the Spitfire was unveiled on Friday.

The sculpture near Southampton International Airport was revealed 68 years to the day that its prototype model first flew on 5 March 1936.

The original airplanes flew out of what was then Eastleigh Aerodrome for tests.

On Friday, a Spitfire made a fly-past to celebrate the unveiling of the 70,000 artwork by Alan Manning, after a campaign by local residents.

It's made in the spirit of good will for a tremendous flying machine
Art officer Gerry Wall
Mr Manning had to build a machine especially to create the curved panels which make up the original K5054 Spitfire.

The sculpture has a wingspan of 24ft (7.3m), compared with the original 36ft (11m) span of the aircraft.

Gerry Wall, Eastleigh Borough Council's public art officer, said: "It's really a celebration of a pre-war flying machine and its local associations.

"It's certainly not meant to be from the view point of a war machine."



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