December 19, 2021 6.00 am This story is over 28 months old

Construction of A46 Lancaster Bomber sculpture will begin in January

The super structure of the Lancaster is being made by a local firm

Work will begin on the main construction of the Lancaster Bomber sculpture just off the A46 in January 2022.

The steel podium was put in place as work was completed on phase two of the ‘On Freedom’s Wings’ project in December 2019. This came after North Kesteven District Council had previously given the green light to the plans for the full-size art installation on land at Brills Farm just off the A46 in Norton Disney.

The Bomber County Gateway Trust’s 26-metre long sculpture will be mounted on a steel frame to give the impression it is in flight. It will measure 29 metres in height and have a wingspan of 31 metres, making it nine metres taller than the Angel of the North.

Timmins Engineering, which is based on Caenby Corner near Market Rasen, will be fabricating the super structure of the Lancaster after offering to do around £100,000 worth of work for free. And Lincolnshire company MHME Lincolnshire is making the ancillary parts of the Lancaster for free.

Bradford-based Barratt Steel has provided £50,000 worth of steel – £10,000 for free and the rest at a cost. Jessops Construction, William Hare, TATA steel and Hutchinson Cranes also previously gifted more than £100,000 worth of materials and services to the project, while other firms have also made very generous donations to the project.

However, the project still needs a further £90,000 for all the work to be completed.

After a recent pre-construction meeting at Timmins Engineering it was agreed that the construction work will begin in the second week of January. Steel supplier Barratt Steel is delivering the first tranche of steel during to Timmins Engineering during the week commencing January 10.

Timmins Engineering was set up by Ken Timmins around 30 years ago. It is now owned by Ken’s son Ed Timmins, who runs the firm alongside Dave Starling.

A pre-construction meeting at Timmins Engineering with the fabrication team ahead of the work starting in January 2022. | Photo: Bomber County Gateway Trust

Ed told The Lincolnite: “We are fabricating the super structure of the Lancaster, which will involve welding, fabrication and a lot of machining.

“We are doing it in between other projects and hope to have it done by March, then it will have to be sent away to be painted.

“We are a Lincolnshire company and all Lincolnshire lads and it is always nice to help others. I am interested in the heritage and history of Lincolnshire, and it’s great to be involved in the project. It is totally different to what we normally do and it is nice to be part of it.”

Co-owner Dave added: “I saw what Ken [from the Bomber County Gateway Trust] was trying to achieve early on in the infancy of the project, and we jumped on it and said we need to be involved in that.

“All my grandparents were in the RAF during the war, my grandfathers both flew in the war, and it’s a really good legacy project that will be there long after we’re going. It’s something that we just had to be involved with.”

The first phase of the company’s work will be constructing the front part of the fuselage. Work on the wings and external cladding will be done once the Bomber County Gateway Trust’s project receives more funding.

The steel podium was put into place as work was completed on phase two of the Lancaster Bomber landmark ‘On Freedom’s Wings’ in December 2019. | Photo: Bomber County Gateway Trust

Ken Sadler, trustee and project director of Bomber County Gateway Trust, told The Lincolnite: “We are relieved that they will be able to make a start in January, after [the delays of] lockdown and COVID.

“We are relying on the goodwill of engineering firms and would love to hear from anyone else who can help us take the project to the next level.

“We are eternally grateful to Timmings Engineering, Barratt Steel, and MHME Lincolnshire. We realise how busy they are and their commitment to us is undiminished.”

Once this work is complete, the structure will be able to go on site. The next step will then be looking for a firm to help build the structural frame and put it on the already in position stand at the site. More CAD expertise and fabrication services will then be needed for the final steel work on the project.

The timescale for the project depends on how quickly funds can be raised, as well as finding more firms who would like to support creating the sculpture.

Since December 2019, poppies have been planted at the site and the structural frame has been designed. Unfortunately, the price of steel has doubled over the past 18 months.

Around £150,000 has been raised so far for the project work, while there has been a further £400,000 worth of goodwill services and materials from businesses supporting the project. However, at least £90,000 more is needed for the steel work so further funding is required for the project – donations can be made here.