A WARTIME Spitfire emblazoned with "Thank U NHS" will fly over Essex hospitals today as a tribute.

From Friday at 10am, the NHS Spitfire will perform a flypast at hospitals across Essex. 

The timetable is as follows:

Thurrock Gazette:

The organisers are also appealing for your help. They want to add 80,000 names of Essex heroes who have given support during the coronavirus outbreak.

For a minimum donation of £10 to NHS Charities Together, the name will be hand written onto the iconic blue Spitfire. The nominations opened on July 5, the 72nd birthday of the NHS.

Explaining the motivation behind the flight, aspokesman for the Aircraft Restoration Company, which is behind the flypast, said: "It began with an idea - 'Why don’t we fly our beloved blue Spitfire PL983 ‘L’ around the local villages for the Clap for Carers this evening? We can prepare the aeroplane as a household and it could really lift the community spirit'.  

"Well, we did, and the response was utterly overwhelming.  Being around the Spitfires so regularity can make it all too easy to take for granted just what the sight and sound of this machine means to so many people. 

"We just weren’t prepared for the emotionally charged messages of support and gratitude that we received for that first flight, it was what paved the way for the development of the NHS Spitfire project. 

"The Thursday flights soon became a bit of a tradition in our local area, and as we approached the tenth week we decided to add our own thank you message to the bottom of those iconic elliptical wings.  That evening we set off again, this time with the ‘THANK U NHS’ emblazoned across the underside of the aircraft. 

"Saying and receiving a thank you is one of the simplest pleasures enjoyed by humankind, it takes the smallest of efforts but can carry vast meaning.  So, how could we give people an opportunity to join us in saying thank you to the NHS whilst also giving them the opportunity to thank someone closer to home… well, this is what we’ve come up with…

"Over the course of the next few months (5th July - 20th September 2020) we are going to be hand writing 80,000 names onto our photo-reconnaissance blue Spitfire PL983 ‘L’. 

"We need your help though, as the names we would like to add are those of your local heroes! A kind neighbour, family member on the front line, volunteer PPE producer, or anyone who has helped/inspired you through the Covid-19 Pandemic. 

"You can now say thank you to them by nominating their name for inclusion in the 80,000 names to go onto the NHS Spitfire.

"Each name nominated will also help us together as a nation say thank you to the NHS by contributing to the NHS Charities Together charity. 

"To nominate a name you simply need to visit our JustGiving page and donate a minimum of £10 along with the name of the person and the reason for the nomination in the donation comment (instructions for donations included in JustGiving page story). 

We will be adding the names throughout the Summer and sharing updates via our social media pages as the blue outer-surface of the Spitfire slowly begins to be covered in the names of our nations local heroes!