History brought to life by a Sutton pilot

Solihull Junior School pupils enjoyed one of their finest hours when an aircraft enthusiast from Sutton Coldfield told them about the day he flew a Spitfire.

Andrew Sparrow

Andrew Sparrow, who is a solicitor, learnt to fly the legendary fighter at Boultbee Flight Academy at Goodwood in West Sussex last year.

The 10 to 11-year boys and girls at the independent school in Warwick Road were enthralled as he traced the training footsteps of RAF pilots defending their country in the Battle of Britain over 70 years ago.

Andrew, who has a private pilot’s licence, showed a video and slides that he took and spoke of the thrill and emotion he experienced flying a restored Mark IX Spitfire over a number of former South Coast wartime fighter bases.

Andrew said: “I wanted to make the children aware that around half the 22,000 Spitfires ever built were made locally in Castle Bromwich and that if they were to one day obtain a private pilot’s licence then they too could train to fly a Spitfire.”

He added: “The School’s Year 6s were really engaged and asked lots of questions. It was a joy to be able to talk to pupils who have only known the jet age and yet have a thirst for knowledge about planes from 70 years ago.”

Mark Penney, Deputy Headmaster of Solihull Junior School, said: “We are grateful to Andrew for helping to bring our Second World War studies to life. The event was part of an exciting new programme of history activities and learning styles that is inspiring pupils to learn about the past for themselves.”

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