A MAGNIFICENT collection of flying machines owned by a former Bolton landlord is set to go under the hammer.

Avid aviation fan Bill Richards spent many years building up his beloved collection of Second World War aircraft engines and memorabilia.

The Bolton dad passed away aged 65 in March last year after losing his battle with cancer, and his family have decided to put the assemble up for sale through specialist auctioneers Cheffins later this month.

Among the collection is a full size, fibreglass replica Spitfire with an instrumented cockpit restored by Mr Richards using original parts.

The Spitfire has a guide price of £10,000 and Mr Richards’ daughter and son, Tammy and Wayne, said they would be sad to see it go.

"The collection was very much a labour of love,” Tammy, aged 40 added.

"He's been collecting for year, I can't say how many. His dad served in the Second World War and he's always been interested and reading books about the conflict.

"He was a proper family man and it was a hobby he shared with the family. We used to travel all over the country to different shows. He wanted to keep English heritage alive and he used to get a lot of interest at the shows, including lots of children asking questions — dad loved that.

"We would love to carry on but since dad passed away it’s been very difficult. Unfortunately we just don’t have the time – or the technical expertise."

Mr Richards worked for more than 30 years in the mining industry before buying his first pub, The General Havelock in Sidney Street, Bolton, and later moving to The Rumworth Hotel in Deane and Greenfields Private Members' Club in Westhoughton.

He would showcase the fighter plane along with his various Second World War aircraft engines at a number of events throughout the country, including 1940s weekends and VE Day and Remembrance Sunday services.

Another highlight of the collection is an unused Packard Merlin 28 V12 engine, understood to have originated from Canada and which has a guide price of £30,000.

It also includes a boxed set of props from a Second World War Avro Shackleton bomber, with a guide price of £1,000 to £2,000.

There are also demonstration Rolls Royce Griffon engines that were used in Spitfires and the Shackleton, Rolls Royce Merlin engines, used in Spitfires and Lancaster Bombers, and Alvis Leonides radial engines, used in a variety of aircraft such as Percival Prince and Westland helicopters.

"We would love it to go to someone who would continue to show them around the country like dad did," Miss Richards added.

The Spitfire comes comes on a trailer ready to assemble at shows and auctioneer Jerry Curzon, from Cheffins, said it was the first time he seen the "incredibly unusual item" come up for auction and interest could come from both collectors and museums.

He said: “We feel very privileged to have been chosen by Mr Richards’ family to sell his collection. We’re sure that it will fire the enthusiasm of collectors and restorers alike.”

The Bill Richards Collection will be sold at Cheffins’ Machinery Saleground, Sutton, near Ely, Cambridgeshire, from 10.30am on Saturday, March 19. For more details visit www.cheffins.co.uk/vintage.