Pub land­lord’s life-size Spit­fire marks vil­lage’s wartime his­tory

West Sussex County Times - - News - Sarah Page

Vis­i­tors to a vil­lage pub in Cool­ham were greeted with an un­usual sight when it re­opened on Satur­day.

Pub­li­can Kenny Easton who runs the Selsey Arms at Cool­ham with part­ner Belinda Grover - has built a life-sized replica of a Spit­fire.

The full-sized Vick­ers Su­per­ma­rine Spit­fire MK IX replica is an ad­di­tion to the pub’s al­ready vast mem­o­ra­bilia col­lec­tion.

The model has been Kenny’s pas­sion project dur­ing lock­down. With a wing­span of over 10m, the Spit­fire is hard to miss in its pride of place next to the WW11 me­mo­rial al­ready in the pub gar­den.

The site in­cludes a me­mo­rial plaque that the Cool­ham com­mu­nity added to the ex­ist­ing me­mo­rial last year, com­mem­o­rat­ing the 15 air­men that lost their lives at nearby Cool­ham Air­field dur­ing the Sec­ond World War.

Kenny said: “Since tak­ing over the Selsey Arms two years ago Belinda and I have been de­ter­mined to show­case the his­tor­i­cal im­por­tance of Cool­ham and its air­field, that still func­tions to­day as RAF Cool­ham.

“We have col­lected a lot of mem­o­ra­bilia that we dis­play proudly in the pub and the Spit­fire model is a happy new ad­di­tion.

“Not ev­ery­one knows about the vi­tal role our lit­tle air­field played in WW2 and we hope to do our bit by keep­ing the me­mory of that time alive – es­pe­cially as the Selsey Arms would have been many of those young men’s local.

“We’re very ex­cited to wel­come back our cus­tomers and we’re al­ready plan­ning to cel­e­brate the un­veil­ing of our Spit­fire with a WW2era themed fancy-dress party a bit later in the year.”

The Selsey Arms re­opened on Satur­day (July 4) with so­cial dis­tanc­ing mea­sures and en­hanced clean­ing regimes in place.

Kenny and Belinda say they are fo­cused on the safety of both their staff and cus­tomers and will be ad­her­ing to gov­ern­ment guid­ance re­gard­ing the safe re­open­ing of the pub.

Kenny Easton cre­at­ing the Su­per­ma­rine Spit­fire MK IX replica

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