Funding needed to ensure survival of Battle of Britain Memorial in Kent

Video report by ITV News Meridian's Tony Green

An online crowdfunding appeal is underway to ensure the survival of the Battle of Britain memorial in Kent, following a halt to fundraising events during lockdown.

The memorial in Capel-le-Ferne in Folkestone is dedicated to the pilots during World War Two, who took on the Luftwaffe over the skies of Kent.

Credit: British Pathé

The battle, which took place 80 years ago this year, is described as a 'pivotal' moment of the war.

For the last 30 years, the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust has been ensuring that what the airmen did for Britain is never forgotten, in a lasting memorial to 'the few'.

A visitor centre also tells the story of the Battle of Britain through an interactive exhibition.

The Battle of Britain Memorial visitor centre tells the story of 'the few'.

However, the coronavirus has placed many charities under lockdown, meaning they are not able to carry out fundraising events which would have normally supported their income.

The trust has to find £240,000 each year if it is to withstand running costs and memorial maintenance.

Aware that lots of charities are fighting for cash, Site Manager, Jules Gomez, says they wanted to be realistic about their appeal.

Battle of Britain Memorial Site Manager, Jules Gomez Credit: ITV News Meridian

The crowdfunding appeal has already gained the backing of celebrities, including Only Fools and Horses actor John Challis.

Patrick Tootal, Battle of Britain Memorial Trust Secretary, says: "We are moving to a new era where it is the relatives and the friends and the supporters which will carry the standard forward remembering the few. So it is more important that we should keep a memorial like this going forward and carrying the story of the few."

Lt Owen Burns was one of 'the few' who took part in the Battle of Britain

The widow of Lt Owen Burns, who was one of the few who fought during the Battle of Britain, says it's a place where she can remember what her husband did for his country.

Deborah says: "For me it is very much a place where I remember Owen and his friends, remember the great things that he did. Although, they wouldn't say they were great of course, they were just doing a job, they would say, but indeed ordinary men doing extraordinary things."

The Battle of Britain Memorial Day 2020 is taking place on July 12th.

More information about the memorial can be found here.