Historic RAF sign to make welcome return to Ely after being spotted on eBay
PUBLISHED: 14:54 10 May 2019 | UPDATED: 14:57 10 May 2019
An historic sign that once stood at the gates of the RAF Hospital Ely is being returned to the city after it was spotted on eBay.
The old RAF Ely Station sign appeared for auction on the bidding site and immediately grabbed the attention of Cl John Donoghue from the Ely Air Cadets 1094 Squadron.
Using the power of social media, John launched the 'Fiver Fundraiser' appeal for parents and staff to donate to reach the purchase price and the target was reached overnight.
The sign had been a main feature at the entrance to the RAF Hospital from 1987 to 1992 when the RAF Station closed down.
It was saved from the scrap heap following demolition work in 1992 before resurfacing at auction many years later.
"The plan was to raise enough to buy the sign and bring it back to display at the squadron's headquarters which is based in the old RAF NAAFI building in the hospital's grounds," John explained.
"If we were successful my idea was to engrave the names of those who donated on the rear of the sign like a time capsule so future cadets would know who brought the sign back home.
You may also want to watch:
"It wasn't just cadet's parents and staff that got involved though; we had grandparents from as far afield as South Africa donating as well."
The squadron will now go on a road trip to bring the sign back home this weekend.
"All the cadets are very excited at the prospect of having the RAF Station sign back in Ely," John continued.
"Our squadron badge is based on the old RAF Ely Station crest and a small team of us are going on a road trip in the minibus this weekend to bring the sign back home."
The RAF Hospital opened its doors in 1940 and was kept busy during the Second World War treating the casualties from all over the RAF and USAF and other armed forces.
In July 1987, the station was renamed the Princess of Wales RAF Hospital during a visit by HRH Princess Diana.
In 1992 the station was disbanded, but following a local campaign the site and many of the original RAF buildings were retained as a community hospital.