Honour for female icon of the air

A replica of a plane flown by a legendary female aviator from Northamptonshire when she broke the flight time record from London to South Africa, is to be put on display at Sywell Aerodrome.

Betty Heycock, who lived at Pytchley Hall for 44 years until she died in 1992, famously flew from Croydon to Cape Town in a time of 45 hours and two minutes in 1937, breaking the previous record by 33 hours.

Sywell Aviation Museum has acquired a seven/eighths scale replica of the DH88 Comet Racer used by Mrs Heycock and are currently raising money to repair some damage caused to the plane when it was removed from its previous display position in the Galleria shopping centre in Hatfield.

People who would like to see the plane displayed in its full glory at Sywell are now being asked to help raise the 6,000 needed to refurbish and install it.

Ben Brown, a secretary at Sywell Aviation Museum, said: "In its removal, the airframe suffered some damage, and though repairable, it will need some money spent on it prior to going on display.

"It is a superb replica, resplendent with propellers, undercart and even detailed exhaust stubs.

"The Burberry Racer Project has been established to raise funds to refurbish the machine and place it on show at Sywell Aerodrome, only a few miles away from where Betty Heycock spent most of her life. It will be repainted in the Burberry scheme it wore at the time of the Cape record.

"Some 6,000 is needed to achieve its refurbishment and installation in memory of Betty Heycock at her "home" aerodrome. No replica of the Burberry Racer is in existence worldwide. We aim to remedy this."

If you would like to make a donation, would like more information or can assist with details of the precise colours of the Burberry scheme, contact Ben Brown on 07968 061708.