John Benson, Claremont Digital Library Community Engagement officer, talks about the group visit to Hanger 42 Spitfire Visitor’s Centre in Blackpool.
The group meet at Claremont Park Community Centre every Tuesday at 1pm to have a friendly chat and brew helping to build the community up again after lockdown and tackle social isolation.
Additional to the support offered with all things digital the group also wanted to have the opportunity to see new things in Blackpool. It can be difficult to venture out on your own so one day while having a brew and biscuit the group decide they wanted to go somewhere together.
Due to a few of the participants being veterans we decided that a day out to Hanger 42 the Spitfire Visitor’s Centre would be a great place to go. Using the devices given through this project the group started planning the day out and researched the various planes and vehicles that we would see.
On the 7th of September it was all go we met at Claremont Park Community Centre at the slightly earlier time of 12.30pm to have lunch and everybody was excited for this group outing.
On arrival there were both Army and Air Force veterans showing us the differences between the Germans and the British armoury that were used during the war. We were shown how the machinery developed and also the speed they were used when fired and how they reloaded the guns. On the tour the members of the group were also shown spy and radio equipment, which we found very interesting.
During the tour we also saw the two main planes – the Hurricane and the Spitfire. When asked which one won the war for us unbelievably it was the hurricane! The Spitfire that we saw was getting ready to fly out next day to Ireland and the group got to watch as the pilot did his pre-flight checks.
The group had a great experience and one person sat in the Spitfire for a photo and we were able to buy souvenirs. The group got to ask lots of question one gentlemen saying this is the best thing I have done in years.