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Queen Camilla renews role as patron of Medway Preservation Society based at Rochester Airport which has restored Spitfires and Hurricanes

Queen Camilla has pledged to continue her long-standing support for a group of volunteers who restore historic aircraft.

HRH has agreed to renew her role as patron to Medway Aircraft Preservation Society (MAPS), a charity in which she is happy to be known as a MAPS chap.

Queen Camilla with MAPS members on an early visit to the workshop at Rochester Airport
Queen Camilla with MAPS members on an early visit to the workshop at Rochester Airport

The monarch first visited their workshop, a then-rundown aeroplane hangar at Rochester Aiport ,14 years ago

Since then she has consistently shown a genuine interest in the many varied and complex projects they have undertaken over the years.

On her visit in October 2010 she was presented a certificate of honorary membership and asked the then MAPS chairman Malcolm Moulton: “Does that make me a MAPS chap?”

To which Mr Moulton replied: “Yes ma’am, it does indeed.”

Long-time member Trevor Young, from Sittingbourne, said: “I was personally honoured together with the rest of the guys that she took time to visit us. Even more so when as the Duchess of Cornwall she agreed to be MAPS patron and now as Queen Camilla, her wish to continue patronage.

MAPS' new purpose-built workshop
MAPS' new purpose-built workshop

“It would be fantastic if her husband, His Majesty the King, would also grace us with a visit,

The Queen’s private secretary has written to MAPS’ managing director Philip Cole confirming the role to coincide with the first anniversary of the coronation of the King and Queen.

MAPS was formed in 1938 and comprises a group of highly-skilled engineers and mechanics who work on the restoration of aircraft that would have otherwise been scrapped.

As a not-for-profit company, it relies on donations and grants to carry out its intricate and painstaking work.

Now based in a purpose-built revamped workshop, members have carried out some notable projects over the decades from the Spitfire and Hurricane on display at Manston Airport.

Currently, they are working on the skeletal shell of a Second World War aircraft salvaged from a frozen lake in the Arctic Circle.

MAPS patron Queen Camilla on a visit to the workshop
MAPS patron Queen Camilla on a visit to the workshop

They have been tasked with restoring the 1941-built Hawker Hurricane which arrived at their workshop in bits on a low loader in an ”extremely fragile state”.

Meanwhile, after years of discussion, the group has come up with a lasting memorial to the world-famous Short Brothers aviation manufacturers, once based at Rochester’s Esplanade.

They rescued a dilapidated float plane - one of only two known to have survived in the world - which had been falling into disrepair in a hangar.

They have spent 10 years so far restoring the craft, including the delicate job of building new wings, and they plan to install the plane at the airport.

Queen Camilla is patron or president of more than 70 charities and organisations, with a few dating back to before her marriage to Prince Charles.

Patronages are not for a lifetime, but a set amount of time are are usually reviewed every three to five years.

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