NHS thank you will be in plane sight above Kettering and Wellingborough soon

The company behind a airborne tribute to the NHS that was seen above Corby last week has promised that Kettering and Wellingborough will soon be treated to an aerial display.

The owners of employment agency Echo Personnel wanted to show their appreciation of the hard work shown by all NHS workers during the coronavirus pandemic and to mark the 72nd anniversary of the health service.

Towed by pilot Dave Unwin flying a Havilland Chipmunk Mk.23 – the only airworthy Mk.23 in the world – trailed a huge banner reading ’72 ♥ NHS’.

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Steve Squires, Echo Personnel operations director, said: “We simply wanted to show our esteem and admiration for the unbelievable amount of work the NHS has done during this unprecedented pandemic, and thought this would lift people’s spirits.

“During the past four months Echo Personnel have continued to supply local customers with its day to day business thanks to the hard work and dedication shown by our full time staff and temporary workers.

“Knowing that the NHS are there at all times has been very reassuring so we wanted to show our appreciation and gratitude and thank them for the incredible efforts shown by all NHS staff during the pandemic, in a way that hopefully lots of people would notice and which also celebrated the 72nd anniversary of its formation.

“We contacted Northants Aerial Advertising and sponsored them to tow the banner over Corby and several of its surrounding villages.”

The hour-long flight allowed the banner to taken three times round the edge of Corby at a height of 1,000 feet.

Mr Unwin, a pilot for 35 years, said: “It’s the first time I’ve pulled a banner in the UK, although I have done in the USA. You have to go quite slowly and make sure you go the right direction so people can read the sign the correct way round.

“I like to think that people were waving at me and Corby looked like a lovely town. It was good fun and a great thing to do.

“I hope that NHS workers looked up and that it was a real morale boost for them and all key workers.”

Pilot Dave Unwin

The plane took off from Spanhoe airfield near Laxton to maximise the time above Corby.

Mr Unwin added: “I consider it both an honour and a privilege as several of my friends work for the NHS.”

Mr Squires added: “We were delighted with the feedback and reaction the banner created on social media and cannot thank the NHS enough for their support.

“Hopefully the banner will be towed around Kettering and Wellingborough later this week if the weather holds up.”

Dave Unwin on the ground

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The plane was photographed by Shane Davis above Corby

Northamptonshire Telegraph