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Stoke born Spitfire designer in running to be on new £50 note

The Stoke-on-Trent born designer of the iconic Spitfire has made a list of people who could appear on the new £50 note.

The Bank of England opened nominations earlier this month for a scientist to replace Matthew Boulton and James Watt, the leading lights of the industrial revolution who are currently pictured on the note.

Now Reginald Mitchell has become one of over 800 scientists currently in the running - narrowed down from over 174,000 names put forward.

Operation Spitfire, a group dedicated to the restoration of the Spitfire at the Potteries Museum in Hanley, have been campaigning to encourage people to nominate Mitchell for the honour.

Group spokesman Mike Mulroy said: "He was an absolute pioneer.

"He wasn't able to study aviation, as it didn't exist. It was only 10 years before when the Wright Brothers took to the skies.

"Even when he got into it, aviation was only going along at 80mph.

"He took that, and broke the world record for the faster vehicle three times, it over 400mph.

"He is the father of aviation."

Mike says that despite his death from cancer two years before the outbreak of Wordl War Two, meaning he never saw the aircraft fly in battle, his contribution to the war effort should be recognised.

"He helped to save our country," he added.

"Mitchell is the reason we can sit here and do what we want today, because we know if we had not been able to defend our skies in the Battle of Britain in 1940, chances are this country would have been invaded."

Operation Spitfire have also launched a petition to show support for Mitchell.

Nominations are open until 14th December, when a list of all eligible figures will be released.

The Bank of England says it will announce its final decision on the successful character in January 2019, which will be based on their strengths, not how many people put their names forward.

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