PROJECTS

The John Gillespie Magee Jr. Foundation Memorial Project
Image: Magee bronze 9ft high
Antony Dufort
The  project was started by a small committee of local residents who recognised the opportunity to provide a landmark in Wellingore to commemorate the connections that the village has with the life and poetry of John Magee. Many visitors arrived at the village having traced John Magee to Wellingore - the site of his last posting and the house where he was billeted and the airfield from which he took off for his last flight in December 1941. But there was little to see and no way to identify the presence of John Magee. One member of the committee, Roger Cole, had spent several years researching the life and poetry of John Magee in great detail which culminated in the publishing of his book 'High Flight' in 2013. The research compiled an extensive archive of new photographs, interviews with relatives and personal correspondence and records of the operations at Wellingore airfield. The committee decided that a memorial to John Magee would be an appropriate addition to a local park and provide a focal point for visitors.

The Memorial Statue
The memorial will be in the form of a 9ft (2.75 metres) high bronze sculpture of John Magee in pilot uniform with a relief plaque inscribed with the High Flight poem. The artist’s representation is shown here. It will be situated in the landscaped park in Wellingore village which is easily accessible from the main A607 road.

The Sculptor
The sculptor chosen for the project is Mr. Antony Dufort FRBS, SPS, MA, a most highly regarded and well known artist with many significant works on display around the UK. Mr. Dufort won the competition to design the reverse of the new definitive £2 circulation coin issued in July 2015 and has completed many portrait sculptures of well-known figures including HM The Queen, Pope John Paul II, Tudor Monarchs, Margaret Thatcher and David Cameron. His work can be viewed at Antony Dufort website

Project Timeline
Mr. Dufort accepted the commission in January 2017. The first item in the commission, a bust of John Magee - was produced in July 2017 and exhibited at the Royal International Air Tattoo at Fairford. The maquette model of the full statue is anticipated later this year. It is hoped that sufficient additional funds will be received in early 2018 to issue the contract for the bronze statue with installation and opening of the memorial to visitors in 2019.
Management of the Project
The project is managed and all donated funds administered under the governance of the John Gillespie Magee Jr. Foundation, a charitable company registered in Wellingore (Reg. #10773259). All proceeds from fundraising activities will be used to install the memorial and to support a Visitor Centre. Upon completion of the memorial, the Parish Council will take responsibility for maintenance of the landscaped park as a public area open to all visitors. A small Visitor Centre is planned to provide facilities for visitors, displays of the life and work of John Magee and archived resources for further study and for educational programmes sponsored by the Foundation. You can download and print a copy of the Project Prospectus.
Project Support
John Magee was born to missionary parents in Shanghai, of an American father and English mother, and educated in England. With the outbreak of war and the invasion of China by the Japanese, the family returned to America which was a neutral country at the time. John was determined to become involved in the conflict and, giving up a place at one of the Ivy League universities and as an American citizen, he crossed the border to Canada to join the Royal Canadian Air Force. With his contributions recognised across several nationalities, the memorial project has received widespread support from within the UK, Canada and the USA.
At the Royal International Air Tattoo at Fairford in July 2017, the bust of John Magee Jr. was unveiled at a press conference and viewed at a joint meeting between Air Chief Marshall Sir Stephen Hillier RAF, General David L. Goldfein Chief of Staff USAF and Major General Tammy Harris Deputy Commander RCAF. In his interview, Sir Stephen Hillier commented that the project was a symbol of the close cooperation between the three air forces and the admiration of John Magee's poetry shared by everyone involved with aviation. You can View the Video of the interviews with the chiefs, with sculptor Antony Dufort and with Foundation Chairman Richard Overton plus a  recitation of the poem 'High Flight' by pilots from the RAF and USAF.

Project Patrons
Reverend Canon F. Hugh Magee - the brother of John Magee
Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Graydon GCB CBE
Air Vice-Marshal Gavin Mackay CB OBE AFC
Carol Vorderman MBE, Hnr. Group Captain and ambassador for the RAF Cadet Force
Captain Michael Lopez-Alegria USN (Retd) – former NASA astronaut
Chiefs of Staff view the bust of John Magee
Image: RAF-RCAF-USAF-DSC00702c
Image: Web_Magee 2 on base
Antony Dufort
Fund Raising
The total cost of the project to include the memorial statue, landscaping of the park and the Visitor Centre is estimated at £350,000. When £150,000 has been raised the commission for the full statue can be placed and will take about 12 months to complete giving additional time for donations towards landscaping the park and creating the visitor centre.

To support the funding for the project, Mr. Dufort has agreed to provide Limited Edition bronze castings of the maquette of both the statue and a separate bust of John Magee as a 15 inch high model mounted for display (see image). Copies of the bust will also be available cast in bronze-effect resin.

The bust is a stunning portrait and creating it involved extensive research to ensure that each item of equipment and clothing accurately portrays what John Magee would have worn in 1941.
To consider a donation or for further details and to reserve copies of the commemorative items please contact -

John Gillespie Magee Jr. Foundation
Wellingore Hall, Hall Street
Wellingore
Lincoln LN5 0HX
UK
Tele: 01522 810 988
Email: mageejrfoundation@btinternet.com
Share by: