Sunday, March 06, 2016

Full-size replica Spitfire and series of Second World War aircraft engines among lots at auction of aviation fan's collection of flying memorabilia

Former pub landlord: Ex-miner Mr. Richards was 65 when he died from cancer in March last year.

Avid aviation fan: The late Bill Richards with his Griffon engine which used to be used on Spitfire aircraft.

An impressive collection of flying memorabilia including Second World War aircraft engines and a full-size replica Spitfire worth £10,000 is to go under the hammer.

The assortment has been put up for auction by the family of aviation fan Bill Richards from Bolton, Greater Manchester, who died after spending his life collecting plane-related items.

Former pub landlord and miner Mr. Richards, who was 65 when he passed away from cancer in March last year, used original parts to restore the cockpit of the fibreglass replica Spitfire.

Prized plane: Mr. Richards with his daughter Tammy, standing by the full-sized replica Spitfire worth £10,000.

And his daughter and son, Tammy and Wayne, said they would be sad to see his ‘labour of love’ go up for sale in a fortnight at the Cheffins Machinery Saleground in Sutton, Cambridgeshire.

Miss Richards said: ‘He's been collecting for years, I can't say how many. His dad served in the Second World War and he's always been interested and reading books about the conflict.

‘He was a proper family man and it was a hobby he shared with the family. We used to travel all over the country to different shows. He wanted to keep English heritage alive.

Originally from Canada: Another highlight of the collection is an unused Packard Merlin 28 V12 engine.

‘He used to get a lot of interest at the shows, including lots of children asking questions - dad loved that. We would love to carry on but since dad passed away it's been very difficult.’

Mr. Richards worked in the mining industry for more than 30 years before buying his first pub, The General Havelock in Bolton, and later moving to The Rumworth Hotel in nearby Deane and Greenfields Private Members' Club in Westhoughton.

He would showcase the fighter plane along with his various Second World War aircraft engines at a events throughout Britain, including 1940s weekends and VE Day and Remembrance Sunday services.

Compared: The Spitfire is pictured next to a Canadian Lancaster Bomber at Durham Tees Valley Airport.

Another highlight of the collection is an unused Packard Merlin 28 V12 engine, understood to have originated from Canada and which has a guide price of £30,000.

It also includes a boxed set of props from a Second World War Avro Shackleton bomber, with a guide price of £1,000 to £2,000.

There are also demonstration Rolls Royce Griffon engines that were used in Spitfires and the Shackleton, Rolls Royce Merlin engines, used in Spitfires and Lancaster Bombers, and Alvis Leonides radial engines, used in a variety of aircraft such as Percival Prince and Westland helicopters.

Engineering: Mr. Richards used original parts to restore the cockpit of the fibreglass replica Spitfire.

‘We would love it to go to someone who would continue to show them around the country like dad did,’ Miss Richards added.

The Spitfire comes on a trailer ready to assemble at shows and auctioneer Jerry Curzon, from Cheffins, said it was the first time the ‘incredibly unusual item’ was up for auction and interest could come from collectors and museums.

Auction: The Griffin Spitfire engine is part of the collection going under the hammer in Sutton, Cambridgeshire.

He said: ‘We feel very privileged to have been chosen by Mr Richards's family to sell his collection. We're sure that it will fire the enthusiasm of collectors and restorers alike.’

The Bill Richards Collection will be sold at Cheffins from 10.30am on March 19.

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