Credo: Carolyn Grace

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The Independent Online

I believe...

I simply had to learn to fly the Spitfire. My late husband, Nick, rebuilt this aircraft before being killed in a car accident 20 years ago. I wanted our children to remember his legacy, and I wanted to keep a part of my husband alive.

I'm representing women – I'm the only one currently flying a Spitfire. I feel that if I get it wrong they're going to say, "Oh, it's a woman." There are a few people who cannot get over it, but on the whole there isn't a great issue. People are surprised, though – which is fair enough, you don't expect a woman to get out of a Spitfire.

Learning to fly the Spitfire was difficult for many reasons: I had to get a babysitter, find someone to pick the kids up from school, the weather had to be right, Pete the instructor had to be available and I had to get someone to look after my goats.

It is not a piece of metal, it's a living being. We seem to be playing together in the air. I love soaring, looping and rolling around white fluffy clouds in a blue sky.

Bringing the Spitfire to the public through air displays is incredibly important. A lot of veterans say all they want is to be remembered because they don't want it to happen again. Seeing a Spitfire ensures their gallantry and valour is not forgotten.

The thing I'm most proud of is that my son Richard and I are displaying together now. My aim is to ensure this aircraft is going for generations to come.

There's nothing nicer than coming back on a Sunday evening after a display and sitting down with my two children and their friends, and having a beer.

You will have things in life you think can't be done, but you just have to look at them another way. That was certainly my late husband's approach – people said you can't rebuild a Spitfire, and he did.

For details of the Grace Spitfire's next air show, go to www.ml407.co.uk

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