A CHILDHOOD dream was realised when a replica Spitfire took flight in honour of a Second World War fighter pilot.

Ferryhill aircraft enthusiast, John Rogerson, found his passion for planes at ten, after his father bought him a biplane model kit.

He fell in love with making models which grew bigger over the years until he single-handedly built an airborne plane.

Now 71, Mr Rogerson has built four planes including his newly finished replica Spitfire.

The plane was built in memory of fighter pilot Tony Lovell – who served in the 41 Squadron at RAF Catterick.

Mr Rogerson said: "The Spitfire is such an iconic aircraft and I think anyone who is passionate about aviation has a dream of flying a Spitfire, to own one would cost millions so building one is the second best thing to do.

"Tony Lovell was an amazing guy who survived the whole of the war only to die shortly after in a flying accident. I researched his entire history and his family were thrilled I was making the plane to replicate his own. They came up to the airfield for a ceremony which saw the aircraft blessed. It was a really nice day which saw about 60 visitors."

"A Spitfire is not just a plane it is apart of history."

The fighter plane was famous in the Second World War as a British single-seated aircraft that was used by the Royal Air Force and many other allied countries.

It was produced in greater numbers than any other British aircraft and was also the only British fighter to be in continuous production throughout the Second World War.

Mr Rogerson worked on the plane for 12 years and recently added Mr Lovell's mother's nickname to the side of the plane.

He painted the name Cherub on to the wooden frame as said many pilots had the names of their loved ones painted in honour of their devotion.

Mr Rogerson said dozens of people have been visiting the plane which was built in between his career as a world-class dog trainer with his other hobby which involves him making unusual stringed instruments.

He is now working on building a Taylor Titch plane which he hopes to have finished by Spring next year.

The Ferryhill resident is encouraging others to take up the hobby – especially the younger generation.

He said: "It is the cheapest way to get into the air and you'll learn not just the skills of being able to build but also teamwork and communication. The skills are being lost over the generations which is a shame."

Mr Rogerson is holding a free event at hanger 22, at Fishburn Airfield, near Sedgefield, to teach others how to build their very own plane.

The day will take place on Sunday, September 15 with five spaces remaining.

To book a place email rogerson.john@gmail.com

Children under 16 are encouraged to bring an adult.