Diamond Harbour cafe to get Spitfire

Last updated 07:42 19/02/2014
John Kirk-Anderson

HEAVY WORK: The WWII Spitfire replica will be installed outside Diamond Harbour cafe.

Chalfont Cafe
Carys Monteath
CHALFONT CAFE: Visitors will be able to examine the Spitfire up close.

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When Jean Richards came home to find her husband building a life-size model of a Spitfire in her Ashburton lounge, she was not the least bit surprised.

It covered most of two rooms and relied on a large portion of the lounge furniture to prop it up.

Graham Richards, now retired, is a bit of an inventor, a craftsman and an entrepreneur. It is not unusual for him to be tinkering in the shed or building something in the yard.

Now living in Diamond Harbour, Richards used a tractor and a team of helpers yesterday to tow the completed body of his Spitfire from his home up on the hill, down to Chalfont Cafe.

Jean may be a tolerant wife, but a life-size Spitfire as a permanent fixture in their front yard was probably a stretch.

At the cafe, it will be on display for anyone to admire.

The move took a few hours and required some careful manoeuvring up a dirt track and down a steep road to the cafe.

It was Richards' first life-size model.

"The Spitfire is quite a talking point as an aircraft," he said. "It was taking up our whole garage though."

It was built 48 times larger than a model Richards used as a scale. It weighed half a tonne and was built from metal, plastic and wood, complete with fitted-out cockpit.

The initials on the side stand for his full name, Edward Graham Richards, with British tail colours.

Chalfont was installing the model as a stationary sculpture where it could be viewed up close. The wings and remaining fixtures would be fitted on site.

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