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Kenley Airfield wants residents to have their say on restoration

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KENLEY Airfield Friends Group (KAFG) need residents help to put the finishing touches to a bid for an £800,000 grant to preserve the historic air strip.

KAFG have been working to maintain the airfield since 2003 and in 2011 they began applying for the grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. They were given an initial grant of £56,000 to help them prepare an in depth bid for the bigger sum, which is now almost ready.

And they want to hear what residents think they should be doing at the site.

The airfield was instrumental in defeating the German Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain, which proved to be a critical moment in the Second World War. At lunchtime on August 18, 1940, Kenley Airfield was heavily raided and nine people were killed, giving the date the name the Hardest Day.

The airfield has a number of ancient monuments from the Battle of Britain including fighter pens where fighter pilots parked their Spitfires when on the ground.

Alan Morgan, KAFG chair, said preparing the bid hasn't been easy.

"If we're going to restore one of the fighter pens we have to use the right sort of bricks that were used in 1939 or 1940, or have them made to 1940 specifications," he explained.

"It's more than preserving the airfield, it's a memorial to the pilots who gave their lives so we could be a free country."

KAFG want residents to fill in a questionnaire to tell them what think they should be doing at the airfield as part of the funding bid.

Mr Morgan said: "The survey comes in to gather views of local people because they're the ones who will benefit from the project. It's where people walk their dogs and go for a walk, it's a nice open space and an important historical site."

The bid was initiated by Chris Baguley, former chair and founder of KAFG, who died in March this year. Mr Morgan said KAFG are carrying on Mr Baguley's legacy and is it a great pity he will not see his hard work come to fruition.

"We're doing it for Chris," he said. "We miss him hugely, his wisdom and knowledge and his personality. We are determined to keep it all going in his memory."

KAFG plan to commemorate Mr Baguley's life and work at the airfield, but they have not yet decided how.

To fill in KAFG's survey visit: http://www.tricolorassociates.co.uk/kenleyairfieldsurvey

Kenley Airfield wants residents to have their say on restoration


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