1:11pm Tuesday 13th November 2012
By Dan Clough
THE boss of Darwen metal firm WEC said he was looking for his next project in the town after the model Spitfire was unveiled at the weekend.
A replica Spitfire, a twelfth the size of a real one, was erected at the traffic island on The Green, near the White Lion pub, at the Remembrance ceremony on Saturday.
The memorial to the £5,000 raised by Darreners to buy one of the aircraft for the RAF during the Second World War, is the latest in a string of donations made by the firm to the town.
And WEC managing director Steve Hartley said he was ‘open to suggestions’ for civic projects. He said: “We are always open to suggestions but it has to be something we are interested in.
“It, obviously, has to be metal and in a place where lots of people will see it.”
Already this year, the firm had donated a new dome for Darwen Tower after the last one blew off in high winds.
Both the dome and the Spitfire were produced by apprentice engineers in the WEC academy.
Mr Hartley said the Spitfire was one of WEC’s best pieces of work. He said: “I drove up to the Spitfire and I was wondering how much I would like it and it really gave me the ‘wow’ factor.
“You have to have passion with these things and I like aviation and making things in metal.
“It isn’t so often somebody approaches you to make a Spitfire. But it means a lot to a lot of people.”
Darwen Town Council mayor Eileen Entwistle praised the Spitfire, adding: “I want to thank Mr Hartley and the apprentices for all they have done for the town.”
Whitehall Coun Karimeh Foster highlighted Mr Hartley’s generosity, adding: “The Spitfire is a new landmark for the town.
“He is helping put Darwen on the map.”
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