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Hemswell Court to host online live auction and black-tie dinner with one-of-a-kind signed oil painting to raise funds for iconic Lancaster Bomber landmark

Hemswell Court in Lincolnshire is set to host a fundraising dinner to help towards the £150,000 still needed to bring a life-size Lancaster Bomber landmark to life on the Lincolnshire Nottinghamshire border, marking the significant aviation history that the two counties shared during the Second World War.

To be held on 22nd May 2019, organisers are looking for guests (both corporates and individuals alike) to purchase tables at the black-tie dinner to help raise as much money as possible for what will be an iconic landmark that both counties can be proud of.

Led by a group of passionate volunteers, registered charity the Bomber County Gateway Trust was created with the aim of making the sculpture a reality. So far, the project has been made possible by corporate and public donations, but at least £150,000 is still needed to complete the landmark, dubbed ‘On Freedom’s Wings’, in 2019.

Guests can expect fizz and canapes on arrival followed by a four-course dinner. The highlight of the night will be an online live auction via online auctioneer, John Pye Auctions, with a collection of highly anticipated lots, including an original oil painting of BBMF and Canadian Lancasters on their 2014 tour by renowned artist Tim O’Brien. The painting is also signed by legendary Dambuster George “Johnny” Johnson MBE, DFM.

Johnny, who is the last surviving flying member of the 617 squadron, will be guest of honour on the night, along with a host of other veterans from Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire. Fittingly, Hemswell Court was the location for much of the filming of the classic 1955 film, The Dam Busters.

The online auction will also include an authentic flying jacket which commemorates The Dam Busters film, signed by Johnny Johnson, the chance to experience a flight in a Tornado F3 simulator and a wine tasting session for eight at Hemswell Court.`

The design of ‘On Freedom’s Wings’, which will be taller than the Angel of the North, is a life-size representation of an Avro Lancaster Bomber which was based at RAF Swinderby. It will be erected on high ground just off the A46 at Norton Disney, visible to an estimated 34,000 motorists every day.

Measuring 26 metres long with a wingspan of 31 metres, the installation will be mounted on a frame more than 15 metres above ground level. It will appear to be in flight over the horizon, heading ‘home’ towards RAF Swinderby.

Ken Sadler, trustee at the Bomber County Gateway Trust, said:

“We are excited about the online auction at Hemswell Court as we have some rare lots for sale, and it will be a fantastic evening. We are incredibly fortunate to have backing from legendary veterans including Johnny Johnson, who whole-heartedly support what we are trying to achieve. Businesses and individuals are invited to book a table and enjoy a wonderful evening with us.

“To date, the excavation and concrete foundations have been completed and the steel framework will be erected in spring this year. To continue beyond that, we need funds to take us to the next stage which is constructing the steel body of the aircraft itself. The response we’ve received for this project has been overwhelmingly positive and I’m looking forward to moving another step closer to completing this landmark.”

For sponsorship enquiries or to reserve a table at the event, please contact Rebecca Young via [email protected]own.com.

Donations are welcome via JustGiving: https://www.justgiving.com/bombercountygatewaytrust

Cheques can be made payable to ‘Bomber County Gateway Trust’ and posted to: Bomber County Gateway Trust, Hill Holt Farm, Norton Disney, LN6 9JP.

Picture Caption: Johnny Johnson signing painting


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