Hawker Hunter leaves Fort Paull on journey to its ‘spiritual’ home at the historic Hornby headquarters in Margate
Lyndon Davies, chief executive of Hornby, bought the Hawker Hunter XF509 for £14,000 at auction earlier this year and plans to use it as a tribute to employees who died in recent times.
The aircraft was once fixed on a pole outside the Humbrol factory on Hedon Road in Hull, which closed in 2006.
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It later moved to the military museum at Fort Paull to the east of Hull until that closed last year.
Hornby owns brands including Hornby model railways, Scalextric, Humbrol and Airfix – which makes exactly the same kit version of the classic British jet aircraft.
The planes – which some believe were among the most beautiful ever made – entered RAF service in 1954 and still provided training support almost 40 years later.
Flight specialist for Hornby Hobbies Michael Clegg watched on as the plane was removed from its plinth and hoisted onto the back of a lorry for the start of the journey to Manston airfield in Kent, where it will be getting a bit of “TLC” before moving to Hornby’s headquarters in Margate.
The plane arrived at Manston on Friday morning and is now standing on her own wheels and under cover in a hangar for the first time in decades.
The former RAF airfield played part in history as Meteor jets – the first Allied jet in service – flew from there in WW2.
The XF509 – which started out with 54 Squadron in 1957 and ended its career with No. 4 Flying Training School at RAF Valley – has its own 1:48 scale model.
Mr Clegg said: “She was a little reluctant to leave her plinth at first – she quite likes it here in Hull.
“She’s going to get some TLC (at Manston) and by the time we get her to Margate we’ll have a proper position for her.
“Lyndon Davies has done this out of the goodness of his heart – it shows how great a boss he is and how he cares about his staff.
“The people we lost really knocked us for six. This is a nice way for us to physically remember them.
“At the moment the intention is to display her at her traditional home in Margate, the old Hornby Hobbies factory, which used to make the trains.
“We have gone back (there) in the last couple of years – gone full circle to our spiritual home and this is where it will end up hopefully.
“We are all excited at the prospect of having her come home.”
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