Cobham WW2 hero goes up in spitfire after successful crowdfunding campaign
PUBLISHED: 16:46 28 September 2016 | UPDATED: 17:24 28 September 2016
‘Cheeky chap’ Bill Kingman, 93, will have the thrill of flying in a T9 Spitfire from Biggin Hill airport
A D-Day war veteran from Cobham will achieve his dream of flying in a spitfire thanks to the generosity of his local community.
Bill Kingman, 93, will be taking off in a T9 Spitfire from Biggin Hill airport on Thursday, October 6 after his friend started a crowdfunding campaign.
Mr Kingman, whose brother died fighting in France during the Second World War, was awarded the prestigious Legion d’Honneur medal by the French government for his part in the RAF throughout the Normany landings.
But in the past few months the 93-year-old’s health has deteriated, so friend Steve Montila sought to cheer him up by raising £2,750 for a once-in-a-lifetime flight.
“Bill is so proud of what he did in the war, he is always wearing his medals and up until this year he was all over the place and going to every pub in Cobham.
“He’s a real local character and a true English unseen hero. He was part of a generation that set us all free,” explains 59-year-old Steve Montila, a builder from Cobham.
He added: “He is a charming, lovable, cheeky chap known by all - young and old - who live in Cobham.”
As well as donations from the crowdfunding page set up by Mr Montila, much of the funds were donated by the Cobham community - including £750 from a local business.
£100 was raised by The Leather Bottle pub, as well as bar staff from The Ship Inn donating their tips to the cause.
Mr Kingman will land in the village around midday next Thursday, where he will be welcomed at Cobham Cricket Club with an afternoon tea party.