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Support and Grants

Below you will find details of projects and educational grants that The Spitfire Society has awarded. For donations to new upcoming and on-going projects for support, more information can be found by clicking here.

Without your donations, we would not be able to continue in supporting new and exciting projects through education, research and preservation for future generations.

The Spitfire Society Award - 2018/2019

As the Vice-Chair of The Spitfire Society I’m delighted to announce that Tom Griffiths (3rd year Aeronautical Engineering at the University of Southampton) is the first holder of The Spitfire Society Award, and a very worthy recipient. The Society award of £1,000 will assist gifted students with their studies and develop new innovations in Aeronautics and Astronautics/Aerodynamics in the United Kingdom and around the world.  Please support us in this charitable objective by becoming a member, purchasing our merchandise or donating to the Society.  Steve Pearse, Vice-Chairman

Here are some words from Tom himself:

Firstly, I would like to thank all at the Spitfire Society for this award. It is a great honour and will be a great help towards the completion of my degree as I will put it towards textbooks and design tools. I am a third year student studying Aeronautical Engineering with an Aerodynamic pathway intending on entering a career in aerodynamic design. So far, I have achieved an average of 91% and 80% in my first two years respectively. Since a young age, I knew I wanted to study engineering however it was a love of aircraft, sailing and Formula One that drew me towards this particular degree.

Vice-Chair Stephen Pearse & Dr Scott Walker

The Spitfire Society Award - 2018-2021

The Spitfire Society Award will provide financial support to high-achieving students on the MEng Aeronautics and Astronautics/Aerodynamics degree. This support can help students to purchase relevant books and equipment needed to undertake their course, and can often mean that a student will not have to undertake a part-time job alongside their studies. This will prove invaluable to the award recipients who can then focus the majority of their time on obtaining a good degree.

The Aeronautics and Astronautics Department at the University of Southampton has an excellent reputation, being ranked fifth in the Complete University Guide 2018 and with 92% of students moving into a professional job or further study six months after graduation. On the MEng Aeronautics and Astronautics/Aerodynamics degree, students study a number of core subjects during their first two years, and in Year 3 can opt to specialise or retain a broad-based study path through a wide selection of subject modules.  For full details of the course please click here.

The first two years provide a solid foundation in engineering, with an emphasis on aerospace. In year two, students take a practical week-long course in flight testing, where experiments are performed on board a Jetstream aircraft. Towards the end of year two, students will select their optional modules for years three and four, or they can transfer onto one of our eight specialist courses (including Aerodynamics and Airvehicle Systems Design). Design is a central theme in years three and four. Students will carry out an individual and group design project, of which previous examples include the design and construction of a human powered aircraft. There is also the option to spend a semester at one of our partner universities in France, Sweden or the USA. In their final year, students can choose  from a range of specialist modules to suit their interests, including Race Car Aerodynamics and Aeroacoustics.

Recent Southampton graduates are employed at organisations including Dyson, the European Space Agency, Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), Jaguar Land Rover, Mercedes and Rolls-Royce. 

The Secret Spitfires - 2017

The story of the Secret Spitfires relates to the time after the main Spitfire factories were bombed and destroyed in Southampton.

The production of Spitfires went on in secret being built in villages and towns around the southern counties including Aldermarston, Chattis Hill, Eastleigh, Henley, High Post, Hursley, Newbury, Reading, Salisbury, Trowbridge, Winchester, Worthy Down, and at dispersed locations around Southampton.  Sometimes in the most unlikely of places: sheds, garages, back gardens, bus depots and even a hotel.

The Secret Spitfire project was to document this story together with first hand accounts from a period that played an important part in maintaining our war effort and eventually defeating the Nazi regime, bringing peace to Europe.

The Spitfire Society is proud to have supported this project which has taken two and a half years to research and film. The DVD will shortly be available.
To find out more about the Secret Spitfire please visit secretspitfires.com/ and read more on this interesting story.  The Society provided £1,000 towards the costs of production.

The Seagry Spitfire Memorial - 2014-2015

This Wiltshire village has erected a memorial to two brave Spitfire pilots who died in 1941 in a mid air collision over the village whilst practising dog fight manoeuvres prior to combat duties.  The Society contributed £1,250.

The Essex Ontario Spitfire Memorial - 2014-2015


The Canadian town of Essex has erected a memorial in memory of their 1,400 young men who joined the RCAF and took part in the aerial conflict in Europe during the Second World War.  The Society donated $1,000.

The Ulster Aviation Society - 2014-2015

This is a very active Northern Ireland Museum acquired a Spitfire which they tour around the schools as part of their educational initiative and needed to replenish their depleted funds as a result of this special purchase in order to maintain the services they offer to education.  The Society donated £1,000.

Operation Spitfire - 2014-2015

The Spitfire Room in the Potteries Museum, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent is being totally refurbished and brought up to date with the view to attracting young people in appreciating  the special  engineering that goes into construction a Spitfire.  Funding was granted for a video projector, programme licenses as well  as lighting to  turn this space into a major museum attraction.  The Spitfire Society has been recognised within the room for its contribution with a plaque and permission to have our promotional leaflets available  for those visitors who might be interested in what we represent.  The Society donated £2,550.

RAF St Mawgan Memorial Garden - 2012

The 'Central' committee has awarded a £420 grant to the 'RAF St Mawgan Memorial Garden' project, which will form an addition to their Internal Heritage Trail.

The LSB grant will fund the centre piece of this new landscaped area, in the form of a full size replica 3 bladed Spitfire propeller and Spinner.  The plan is to present the propeller on a granite plinth, with one blade pointed vertically down, akin to the RAF Senior Aircraftsman (SAC) rank badge design.

The Memorial Garden, due for completion during summer 2012, will not only be viewed by the tri-service personnel and permanent Station staff, but also by large numbers of young cadets from across the country, encouraging their interest in military heritage, aviation and the legacy of the Spitfire.

The Heritage Trail booklet issued by RAF St Mawgan and given to those participating individuals will provide background information and context of each site on the Trail, and will educate readers on the Spitfire, Seafire and designer R J Mitchell, together with honouring the name of Leonard Stillwell. 

The Ratcliffe Spitfire - 2012

The 'Central' committee has awarded a £500 grant to 'Ratcliffe College', Leicestershire to support their ambitious plan to build a full-scale replica Spitfire Mk I.

This 2 year project will be carried out by students of the College within their extra-curricular 'Flight Club', the age range of the students being from year 7 (11 yr olds) to year 11 (16 yr olds). 

The Spitfire will be constructed in a semi-modular way, with initial focus on the cockpit area. The LSB grant will be used to purchase a variety of materials and tools to enable this project to become a reality.

Ratcliffe Aerodrome forms part of the College grounds and the replica Spitfire will honour the many ATA and other pilots who flew from it during WWII when it was No.6 Ferry Pool. 

For further information and progress updates please click here.

The Les Colquhoun Memorial Award - 2012

The annual Presentation of Awards took place at Farnborough College School of Engineering in November 2011 and some 40 prize-winners were present to receive awards from Mr John Hensman of Honda Motor Europe. 

The Spitfire Society supports 'The Les Colquhoun Memorial Award' for the 'Best Year 1' student and the 2011 recipient was Hasith Senanayake, who receives a cheque for £300. 

In his address, Mr Hensman spoke to the winners on the importance of their work throughout the engineering field and outlined the contribution they will undoubtedly make in their future careers. Hasith was accompanied by his sister and her family and their congratulations to him were well deserved. 

Spitfire Simulator for ATA Museum - 2011

HRH Prince Michael of Kent to open the new ATA Museum - 'Grandma Flew Spitfires! '

Leonard Stillwell Bequest sponsors Spitfire simulator ...
We are delighted to receive the following from Richard Poad, Chairman of the Maidenhead Heritage Centre and a former BA pilot, who has undertaken a major project to honour the ATA in establishing a new Museum in Maidenhead and very near to White Waltham, the HQ of the ATA in the War. The Museum holds over 70 log books of the 1246 pilots in the ATA and has some 3000 articles collected over the years about the ATA. The new Museum was opened to the public in August and Molly Rose - shown here -a former ATA Pilot now in her 91 st year declared the Museum 'operational'. 

The Society has played an important part right at an early stage in providing a Spitfire cockpit simulator: As Richard says:

"Grandma Flew Spitfires!, the new ATA Exhibition and Archive at Maidenhead Heritage Centre,Spitfire Society has opened with a star attraction - a simulator, with no less than 5 screens incorporated into a 2m replica cockpit section, a high degree of realism, a perspex windscreen, a floor-mounted control column and authentic Merlin sounds. Visitors to the ATA exhibition can fly the simulator for a small charge which will go towards maintenance and upgrades.

The simulator is not a fairground ride, but a real learning experience. Visitors with no flying experience can study a display about the parts of an aircraft and the principles of flight before climbing into the cockpit. The basic flight controls will be explained before the simulator is 'released' into free flight over Southampton Water and the Isle of Wight, where there are plenty of scenic views. Visitors with flying experience will be able to take off from Eastleigh, birthplace of the Spitfire, and "ferry" the aircraft on a short flight to Bournemouth/ Hurn - perhaps with a chance for some gentle aerobatics on the way! Recommended flying speeds are those set out in the famous ATA Ferry Pilots Notes, including a climb speed of 160mph, a modest cruise speed of 230mph and an approach speed of 100mph.

Our Trustees are extremely grateful to the Spitfire Society's Eastern and Central teams who administer the Leonard Stillwell Bequest for awarding us a substantial grant to fund this simulator. It will form a major part of the Museum and gives us a marvellous opportunity to enthuse our visitors about the Spitfire and all things aeronautical. We look forward to Society members joining us at 18 Park Street, Maidenhead." 

On 19th October we will be honoured that our Patron, HRH Prince Michael of Kent, will formally open the new Museum and we hope will 'fly' the simulator. As a qualified pilot we look forward to his views on his sortie ! It is hoped that a number of surviving ATA members will be present and they will be entertained at a formal lunch afterwards at White Waltham, a location full of nostalgia for those who served in the ATA.

Flying Scholarships for the Disabled - 2011

The Eastern committee have kicked off the Bequest with a £10,000 award to 'Flying Scholarships for the Disabled' (www.toreachforthesky.org.uk/index) which will pay for one student to have flying tuition, ground school and supporting exams. The selection process takes place at flying schools in the UK and South Africa and confirmation is expected from RAF Cranwell in April 2011 for 'our' student's progress. The scholarship certificate will be presented at a special ceremony at the International Air Tattoo, Fairford in July 2011. If he/she completes the course successfully, then the winner will receive their wings at a later ceremony. 

The Les Colquhoun Memorial Award - 2010

The Central committee decided to take over the annual award of the 'Les Colquhoun Spitfire Society Prize for the Best Year 1 Aeronautical Student' at the Farnborough College of Technology. The 2010 prize was awarded to a French student - Thierry Cavaghan - at the annual ceremony in December.