The day I met a Red Arrow and flew in a Spitfire (almost)…

As chief Collectology expert, I’ve met some incredible people over the last few months. I fulfilled my dream of meeting a Bond girl, well actually I met two in one week (they were fabulous!) And I got to meet the REAL life Boba Fett from STAR WARS. I felt so privileged to be in their company and hear their fantastic stories. But they don’t quite compare with the special person I met a few weeks ago…

I was lucky enough to travel down to Headcorn Aerodrome in Kent to meet Spitfire pilot and ex-Red Arrow, Anthony Parkinson, also known as ‘Parky’, and I actually got to interview him on camera. Not only that, I got to fly in a Spitfire! Well – not quite. Let me explain…

Spitfires in Flight

You probably already know, this year marks 100 years since the formation of the Royal Air Force – an incredible milestone and one which is being celebrated up and down the country with special centenary flypasts and events throughout the year. You might have seen the flypast over Buckingham Palace earlier this month – it was such a poignant commemoration, especially for those who serve or have served in the RAF.

To be honest, this is probably the most important military anniversary to be celebrated in British history, so it was a given that we had to put together a range of collectables dedicated to the anniversary, but where to start?

Spitfire

Well, there’s a lot of items out there commemorating the anniversary but I really wanted to find some unique pieces for collectors so I got thinking – what really defines the RAF and which are their most iconic aircraft? After a long chat with some colleagues in the office, we couldn’t help but keep coming back to the legendary Spitfire – the symbol of victory and by far the most famous plane of WWII! It was then that I decided tributes to this iconic plane had to be a central part of our collection.  

Flight in a Spitfire - Hand-signed by the pilot

Suddenly my colleague Matt says, ok, but could we get some memorabilia flown in a Spitfire for collectors? Genius! After some research it turns out there is a company at Headcorn that offers Spitfire flight experiences so we got in touch and they said they would be delighted to arrange a flight for us. But that’s not the best part….

We found out that the pilot, Anthony Parkinson, is an ex-Red Arrow, has flown with the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and is the first pilot in the world to clock up 1,000 hours in the famous Typhoon! Amazing – what incredible stories he must have! I asked if we’d be able to arrange an interview with him and he was more than delighted to oblige...


Watch our RAF Centenary Collectables Show airing LIVE on Facebook – 6:30pm on 30th July! PLUS my interview with Spitfire pilot – ‘Parky’!

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Collectology 'Parky' Interview

So on 12th May 2018, I was lucky enough to travel to Kent to get our fantastic pieces of RAF Centenary memorabilia flown in the Spitfire and meet ‘Parky’ the pilot for a chat – he didn’t disappoint.

He’s such an interesting guy and clearly absolutely loved every moment of his career with the RAF and has an inherent passion for flying. He also signed the items for collectors as well! It was amazing to see the Spitfire in action and get the chance to stand right next to it – the sound is so distinctive and it looks as elegant and agile in the ‘flesh’ as it does in the photos. Watching the iconic Spitfire shape flying above my head was something I’ll certainly never forget. I was so excited to get my photo taken with it as well.

Oh! And you’re probably wondering what I meant when I said I flew in one. Well, we needed something to cover our precious collector items so I volunteered my jumper to be used to wrap around them to keep them safe. That’s right, my jumper went up in an actual Spitfire! Every time I wear it will bring back memories of that unforgettable day!

Jumper Loaded on Spitfire

All will be revealed in our RAF Centenary Collectables Show on 30th July when we will show you the pieces we had flown in the Spitfire and how you can be the proud owner of one signed by the pilot! We’ll also be showing parts of my interview with ‘Parky’ where he reveals what it was really like being a Red Arrow, flying with the BBMF and becoming the first pilot in the world to fly 1,000 hours in the world’s most advanced combat aircraft – of course, the Typhoon.

I was absolutely captivated by his stories, as you will see in my interview with him. We also have some other collectable items that feature pieces of REAL Spitfire! This is one of my favourite shows so far so don’t miss it! Sign up now for show updates>>

WIN a 5oz Silver Commemorative featuring engraved signatures of ALL 9 Red Arrows Pilots!

Plus - you’ll also get the chance to enter our competition to WIN a Red Arrows Silver 5oz Commemorative Medal featuring all nine signatures of the Red Arrows pilots intricately engraved onto it for the centenary year. It’s absolutely stunning!

WIN! Red Arrows Silver 5oz Commemorative

PLUS, we’ll be airing my full interview with ‘Parky’ LIVE on Facebook at 1pm on Friday 3rd August – don’t miss it!


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