Competition launched to design national memorial for the Spitfire (UK)

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The public are being given the chance to design a national memorial in honour of the Spitfire which will be up to three times the size of the original fighter.

The statue – which will be up to 180ft (55m) tall – is to be erected in Southampton, the city where the aircraft was designed and first built.

The Spitfire Tribute Foundation, the organisation behind the scheme, is launching a public competition, backed by The Sunday Telegraph, to select the design.

The winner will see their concept built at a cost of £2 million.

The foundation hopes the memorial will be completed by the end of next year, the 75th anniversary of the aircraft's test flight, which took place from what is now Southampton airport.

John Hannides, chairman of the foundation and a councillor in the city, said: "We want to allow any amateur, anyone with a passion or an interest in Spitfires, right up to professional designers, to get in touch.

"We want the structure to be up to three times the size of the original aircraft and want it to be elevated, at some angle, as if it is in flight.

"Our only other stipulation is that we want it to be the recognisable shape of the Spitfire. We don't want interpretations of it, or just parts of it to be featured. We are purists. The Spitfire itself was a fantastic design. Why try to improve on it?"...

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