Philip Jackson's sculpture placed at the heart of the Bomber Command Memorial in Green Park has won resounding reviews from the public and art world alike, winning the Marsh Award for Excellence in Public Sculpture in 2013. The Memorial is regularly voted one of London's most popular tourist attractions, according to Trip Advisor.
The cost to plan, design, build and dedicate the Memorial came to £6m; a small price to pay given the sacrifice of the 55,573 airmen of Bomber Command who were killed in the Second World War.
Today, the custodian of the Memorial, the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, is still seeking to raise £1m to maintain the Memorial in perpetuity.
Sculptor Philip Jackson agreed to cast a limited edition of up to 20 bronze maquettes - miniatures based on the clay model which Philip used to create the final statue - and pledged that proceeds from their sale will be donated towards the Memorial.
Cheshire businessman Michael Oliver has been a most generous supporter of the Memorial and saw a unique opportunity to support its "upkeep" in partnership with the RAF Benevolent Fund.
Michael Oliver generously purchased one of the maquettes, which will be the first to go on public display. Michael has donated the sculpture to the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund which will place it on permanent display at the RAF Club on Piccadilly.
Michael Oliver OBE DL said: "In gifting the maquette to the RAF Benevolent Fund, I hope that future generations will be reminded of the huge sacrifices that Bomber Command made during the Second World War. We owe a huge debt and gratitude to those brave young men who took to the skies, day after day, and night after night and sadly did not return."
Air Marshal Chris Nickols, Controller of the RAF Benevolent Fund said: "As the proud guardian of the Bomber Command Memorial, the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund is committed to ensuring that the remarkable bravery and sacrifice of the young aircrew, who gave their lives defending our freedom during the Second World War, will always be remembered. We are delighted with Michael’s kind donation and ongoing support of the Memorial."