by Roy and Chris
I recently had a ride to the International Bomber Command Centre (IBCC) which is on the outskirts of the city of Lincoln. The main feature here is “The Spire” which, at the height of 102 feet, is the same length as the wingspan of the Lancaster bomber. The Spire was erected on the 10th May 2015 and the centre was officially opened on 2nd October of the same year. Over three hundred veterans attended the ceremony. The Spire dominates the landscape and is in a direct line across the valley from Lincoln Cathedral.
Unfortunately, at present Lincolnshire is classified as Tier 3 because of the Covid virus. This means that the centre is not running as fully as it can do. The café is doing take away cakes and drinks. In normal times the café can be very busy, providing a good selection of food at a reasonable price. Entry into the centre is free; however, there is a charge if you wish to see the exhibition. This is held in three halls and tells the story through the eyes of the people involved on both sides, using interactive displays and exhibits. This is really first-class display.
In the main entrance hall, there is a shop selling books, clothes, gifts and things for children to do. From the shop you have a great view of the memorial spire and the walls which list many names of the bygone flyers. Groups of children often come here, and the centre runs special courses for them and they are here for several hours. One of the things that they do is to put poppies in the name slots on the memorial walls, with each child being given a few names to find.
The centre also organises events like the Inspire Ride-in for bikes, trikes and scooters. I have been to these events twice and a huge number of riders turned up on each occasion. Extra outside catering outlets are set up and these are in great demand. Often there is a group playing appropriate music and there is plenty of space to sit down. RAF Coningsby (also in Lincolnshire) is where the Memorial Flight is based, and they often send over the Lancaster or another period war-time plane, which adds to the enjoyment of these special occasions.
Riding into one of these events I spotted a row of Can-ams lined up but at the end of the row was John and Tracey’s outfit. I later caught up with them in the café and that day a Dakota aeroplane flew over the ride-out.
In normal times there are guides who will tell you all about the centre; these people are very knowledgeable and you can learn a lot from them. The tours are free and usually there are two tours an hour, each lasting about 45 minutes.
The centre is about 20 miles from my home and I often pop into the café for a break and a cuppa. The centre is well worth a visit if you are in the area.
However, please note that the centre is closed on Mondays
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