AN iconic jet plane which stood outside a rural county shop for decades has been restored following a four-year project.

The Supermarine Swift F Mk 4 sat on plinths outside Sheppards Stores, Upper Hill, near Leominster, for more than 40 years before it was privately purchased in 2012.

In March that year, Jet Art Aviation Ltd was commissioned by the private purchaser to dismantle and move the jet before restoring it at its workshop.

Chris Wilson, from the Yorkshire-based company, said: “Dismantling and moving it was in itself very challenging engineering-wise as it had been outside for half a century and was very corroded.

“It has been lovingly restored and has now gone to a fantastic new home and will be on public display in a hanger on long-term loan to the Vulcan to the Sky Trust.”

The single-seat jet, built during the 1950s, was sold by Derrick Sheppard, whose family ran the outdoor clothing and camping store Sheppards in Upper Hill.

Derrick’s father Percy purchased the plane in 1968, but died six months later. It was in the same spot, overlooking the Herefordshire landscape, for decades after that.

The jet measures just over 42ft in length and has a wingspan of 32ft 4in. It was branded with “Sheppards Surplus” in the 1980s and believed to be the only complete F Mk.4 WK275 in existence.

The Swift was never used for combat and owing to a spate of accidents was only in service as an interceptor for a few short years, but the F Mk 4 model once held the world absolute speed record at 735mph.

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