A BRADFORD man hoping to see the iconic Thank U NHS Spitfire with his father's name on it missed out after the plane's flyover at Bradford Royal Infirmary had to be cancelled on Wednesday.

"I was really looking forward to it," said Richard Willetts, who lives at the top of Great Horton. "My dad's name was on the plane and it would have been nice to get a picture of it. It's a bit of let-down really.

Lucy Stevens, a spokesman for the Aircraft Restoration Company, said: "It was such a shame that the weather and poor visibility meant that we had to cancel the planned route.

"However, as soon as the NHS Spitfire is back at the RAF Duxford base after it’s flight routes in Scotland, Northern Ireland and North Wales, we will be regrouping and looking for the next weather window to complete the North-East England route."

If the weather does not cooperate, the public could have the opportunity to see the Thank U NHS at air shows next year.

The iconic World War Two aircraft was set to pass over hospitals in Wakefield, Leeds, Bradford, Harrogate, York and Northallerton on Wednesday morning to thank NHS staff for their hard work during the coronavirus pandemic. The flypast over Bradford Royal Infirmary was due to take place at 10.44am.

Richard, who was waiting with several other people outside the BRI, was gutted to miss out as he had paid a £20 donation to get his father Terry Willetts' name hand-painted on the side of the Thank U NHS Spitfire.

"My dad passed away five years ago," said Richard. "He worked for the West Yorkshire Fire Service for 25 years and I've worked for the NHS since 1997, so this was my chance to give back."

The Thank U NHS Spitfire offers members of the public the opportunity to nominate the name of a loved one that is hand written onto the family-owned Aircraft Restoration Company’s blue photo-reconnaissance Spitfire to raise money for NHS Charities Together.

The names are nominated as a way of recognising small acts of kindness throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. From a family member to a kind neighbour, close friend or community hero, the public can thank them with the special gesture.

The Spitfire has an 80,000 name capacity and Richard rang up the company recently to confirm that his father Terry's name was on the Spitfire.

"The man I rang checked for me and sent me a picture of his name. It's on the right hand side of the plane. When I saw it, I got a bit emotional. I told him 'thank you very much' and said my dad was responsible for me joining the NHS."