Photos: Hemswell Court to host live online auction for Lancaster Bomber monument

Hemswell Court in Lincolnshire will host a fundraising dinner next month to help with the £ 150,000 still needed to bring a life-size Lancaster Bomber monument to life on the Lincolnshire Nottinghamshire border, marking important aviation history that the two counties shared during WWII.

Hosted by local law firm Fraser Brown Solicitors, the Black Tie Dinner will take place on the 22sd May and interest in the event has already been very positive, with now limited tables available for purchase.

Johnny Johnson Signature Board

All funds raised during the event will go towards building “On Freedom’s Wings”, which will be designed larger than the Angel of the North. The life-size depiction of a Lancaster bomber will be erected on high ground just off the A46 at Norton Disney, visible to around 34,000 motorists every day.

Lancaster Bomber
George ‘Johnny’ Johnson MBE, DFM. Photo by Charlotte Graham of The Independent

Led by a group of passionate volunteers, the registered charity Bomber County Gateway Trust was created with the sole purpose of making “On Freedom’s Wings” a reality. So far the project has been made possible by donations from businesses and the public, but up to £ 150,000 is still needed to complete the monument in 2019.

Lancaster Bomber
Flt Tim Dunlop Tim O’Brien 21 Lo-Res

Guests can look forward to a bubbly and canapes on arrival, followed by a four-course dinner. The highlight of the evening will be a live online auction via online auctioneer, John Pye Auctions, with a collection of much anticipated lots, including an original oil painting by BBMF and the Canadian Lancasters during of their 2014 tour by acclaimed artist Tim O’Brien. The painting is also signed by the legendary Dambuster George “Johnny” Johnson MBE, DFM.

Bomber jacket included in the online auction
Bomber jacket included in the online auction

Mr Johnson, who is the last surviving flying member of 617 Squadron, will be the guest of honor for the evening, along with a host of other Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire veterans. Fittingly, Hemswell Court was the setting for much of the classic 1955 film, The Dam Busters.

Lancaster Bomber
By Mathius at DominoesDesign

The auction also includes the unique scale model of the landmark offered by the Lancaster Bomber, which was used for exhibits and planning permission discussions. It is approximately 110cm high and will be signed by the veterans present at the event. The winning bidder will receive a special presentation at the dedication ceremony when the monument is completed.

Other prizes include an authentic flight jacket commemorating the movie The Dam Busters, signed by Johnny Johnson, the chance to experience a flight in a Tornado F3 simulator, a night taxi ride in a Lancaster bomber, complete with fireworks, a Dam Raider Gin edition bottle signed by rugby legend Rory Underwood, a wine tasting for eight at Hemswell Court and a selection of paintings depicting important wartime events including D-Day (6e June 1944).

Ken Sadler, Chairman of the Bomber County Gateway Trust, said: “We are excited about the evening at Hemswell Court and their organization of an online auction with so many rare and unique lots for sale is fantastic. We are incredibly fortunate to have the support of legendary veterans, including Johnny Johnson, who wholeheartedly support what we are trying to achieve. Businesses and individuals are invited to reserve a table and spend a wonderful evening with us for a great cause.

“To date, the excavation and concrete foundations are complete and the steel frame will be erected in the summer of this year. To continue beyond that, we need funds to take the next step of building the steel body of the aircraft itself. The response we have received for this project has been overwhelmingly positive and I look forward to taking one more step towards achieving this milestone.

For all sponsorship requests or to reserve a table at the event, please contact Rebecca Young via [email protected]

Donations are welcome via JustGiving:

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