A Spitfire, the plane which drove Hitler's Luftwaffe from the skies over Britain exactly 80 years ago, will salute a new band of heroes with a series of flypasts of Northern Ireland hospitals today and tomorrow. It is a novel way of saying thank you to those who are fighting an even more devious enemy than the Nazis - the potentially lethal cornonavirus.
Like The Few, as Churchill hailed the vastly outnumbered Spitfire pilots after the Battle of Britain, the nurses, doctors, paramedics and all NHS staff who come in contact with patients with the virus deserve the greatest praise. They are in the front line and have never shirked their duty. Indeed, across the UK, some have paid the ultimate price, succumbing to the virus.
The flypast of the Spitfire is also an opportunity to raise money for the NHS with donors getting their names stencilled on the aircraft. During the Second World War readers of this newspaper donated the money to build 17 Spitfires. No doubt they will be generous again to show their admiration for the very deserving staff of the NHS.