Plans are coming together for a 'virtual' Memorial Day that will showcase the bravery and sacrifice of the Few to our supporters around the world.
We've been working hard to create an online event that will go live at 11 am on Sunday, 12 July and will commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain with a unique range of contributions from many different people.
The Battle of Britain Memorial Trust has been overwhelmed by the support it has received since deciding that it would meet the challenge posed by the Covid-19 pandemic in the same way the Royal Air Force saw off the threat of a Nazi invasion.
The Ven Ray Pentland CB, Honorary Chaplain to the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust, who has a background in broadcasting, has put together an exciting package of material that will recreate the colourful spectacle that normally greets the crowds who arrive at the Memorial at Capel-le-Ferne for the annual commemoration.
It will be posted on the Trust's new YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/c/BattleofBritainMemorial and also linked to Facebook, where supporters have enjoyed a number of Facebook Live events in recent weeks.
Along with the usual spectacular contribution from a Spitfire and Hurricane from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, the virtual event will include music from the Band of the RAF Regiment and an introduction from Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton GCB, the President of the Trust.
The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston, will also feature and there will of course be contributions from some of the much-loved and now departed members of the Few, including a film of Flt Lt William Walker reading his poem Our Wall in front of the Christopher Foxley-Norris Memorial Wall.
The Chaplain will lead the Act of Remembrance, which will also feature the Hon Secretary of the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust, Group Captain Patrick Tootal OBE DL and Chairman Richard Hunting CBE. Family and friends will also pay their own tributes at this point, alongside serving members of the RAF, including aircrew who patrol our skies and defend our nation today.
"We were naturally disappointed when we were forced to cancel Memorial Day, but we decided very quickly to follow the example of the Few and face the challenge head on," explained Richard Hunting. "This year's virtual event will clearly not be the same as a 'real' Memorial Day, but it will still be a great occasion; a time for us all to come together to remember the Few during this very special year.
"We are as always hugely grateful to the RAF for their support with this event and for the contributions made by so many people. We also hope that people will feel able to help by contributing to the Trust, since the lockdown has removed all our funding sources, and, like many other charities, we are increasingly desperate for financial support."
Don't forget to tune in to www.youtube.com/c/BattleofBritainMemorial in time for the event at 11am on Sunday 12 July. If you would like to contribute to the Trust, please Donate here.