Work begins on £150k Just Jane Lancaster restoration, but help needed to fund project

A Just Jane tail fin with its skin removed.
A Just Jane tail fin with its skin removed.

A £150,000 project to restore part of a Lancaster bomber based near Boston is getting under way, but help is needed to fund the work.

The Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre, at East Kirkby, will be launching another winter restoration for its Avro Lancaster, NX611 or ‘Just Jane’, as work continues to see it fly again.

A rudder with some skins removed.

A rudder with some skins removed.

It is the second in a 10-year programme of improvements planned for the aircraft.

Last year, it included a complete rebuild of the starboard tail fin and rudder.

General manager Andrew Panton said: “The main aim of each winter restoration period is to restore a section of the aircraft to airworthy condition.

“The Lancaster can be split down into 20 parts such as wing tips, ailerons, elevators, nose, cockpit, rudders, fins, outer wings, fuselage sections and so on which enables us to target particular parts each winter to eventually end up with a completely restored air frame.

“This winter period we are rebuilding the port fin and rudder while also overhauling the port engine subframes and undercarriage mounting structure.

“We have a propeller to send off to Canada for overhaul and some rewiring of the aircraft.”

This winter restoration period will cost about £150,000, for which the centre receives no grants or external funding.

“All of the work is funded by the operating of the centre, whether it be an admission fee, a cup of tea sold in the cafe, or a book bought in the shop,” Andrew continued. “We have started a club whose members can follow the restoration of the Lancaster with weekly emails for just £2 per month, the club is currently providing around £40,000 to the project per year.”

* To join the club visit The Rivet Club.

** The Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre celebrated its 30th anniversary earlier this year.

It was set up by two farming brothers, Fred and Harold Panton.

It was built up as a memorial to Bomber Command and primarily as a tribute to their eldest brother Christopher Whitton Panton, who was shot down and killed on a bombing raid over Nuremberg on in March 1944.

Just Jane was built by Austin Motors at Longbridge near Birmingham, in April 1945.

It was intended for service in the Far East, but Japan’s surrender saw it go into storage for a number of years.

Her last flight was June 26, 1970.

She was bought by Fred and Harold in September, 1983.