Page last updated at 10:59 GMT, Friday, 13 March 2009

Chocks away for garden Spitfire

Dr Hamish MacLeod
Dr Hamish MacLeod has built a full size replica of a Spitfire in his garden at Moffat in Dumfries and Galloway

A retired doctor has built a replica of a Spitfire fighter in the front garden of his home.

Former GP Hamish MacLeod had the model delivered in sections to his house in Moffat, in Dumfries and Galloway.

Dr Macleod, who has had a life-long passion for the iconic World War II fighter, then put it together with the help of friends.

He said he was delighted to have "the most fabulous looking aircraft ever" taking pride of place on his lawn.

He took delivery of the parts for his garden model last week, and it has already proved to be a popular attraction in the town.

I just feel a huge love for the aircraft and to have this copy of one I actually flew is so special
Dr Hamish MacLeod

Dr MacLeod said: "The neighbours think it is fabulous and a lot of people were coming around when I was building it.

"I'm happy to talk planes and cars for as long as people like, but I'm not putting it here as a showpiece."

Dr MacLeod intends to leave the model Spitfire to the people of Moffat, a town with close links to the aircraft.

Air Chief Marshal Hugh Dowding - credited with masterminding the Battle of Britain - was born in the town.

Every year a special service, including a Spitfire flypast, is held in his honour.

Largest memorial

Dr MacLeod hopes the replica can be sited at Dowding House in Moffat's Well Street, which remains the largest memorial to Dowding.

He said: "Because of the connection with Dowding, there should be a Spitfire in Moffat.

"This is my way of saying thank you to the people of Moffat for giving me such fabulous support during my career.

"It just seems to make a lot of sense."

More than 10 years ago Dr MacLeod got the chance to fly one of the famous fighters.

Moffat memorial
A memorial stands in Moffat to Sir Hugh Dowding

The former pilot officer was taking a refresher course on night flying in Florida when the opportunity arose.

He explained: "I heard the fantastic sound of that Merlin engine and hopped on a bike in search of it.

"There were all these fabulous Spitfires being restored on the airbase."

A one-day "insurance window" was arranged to allow Dr MacLeod to fly the plane which he described as an "unbelievable" experience.

"I had the controls from start to finish," he said.

"We did all sorts of things - the Spitfire is so aerobatic.

He added: "It is so iconic, the most fabulous looking aircraft ever, hugely beautiful. I just feel a huge love for the aircraft and to have this copy of one I actually flew is so special."

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