A large statue of a WWII pilot watching the skies has appeared outside Biggin Hill airport in southeast London.

The sculpture was constructed from 223 layers of stainless steel that have been stacked on top of each other to form the image of the nameless WWII pilot, who would have been based at Biggin Hill when it was an RAF base.

The garden around it and the statue and designed by John Everiss to honour the former RAF base’s role as ‘The Strongest Link’ in the Battle of Britain.

Although the sculpture dominates the site, I was quite taken with the surrounding garden, as a series of concentric circles around the sculpture, with an inner ring of dry stone wall and hedging outside. Some soft wooden benches give somewhere to sit and contemplate.

Funding for the garden was provided by Project Giving Back, a support scheme that gives charities the opportunity to exhibit a garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, where this garden was first shown last year before being moved to Biggin Hill.

The finished garden and sculpture were unveiled last September.

Although it’s right in front of the main entrance to Biggin Hill airport, it’s not the sort of place you’re likely to casually wander past unless going past on a bus or visiting the local museum.

Which makes a visit a form of pilgrimage if you like.


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