ONE of the most significant sagas in aviation history is to take off again as shares to recreate Britain’s first successful seaplane are offered.

For as little as £3, punters can join a £160,000 mission to recreate Waterbird, a century after her maiden flight from Windermere.

Decried by novelist Beatrix Potter, but with the support of Winston Churchill, the 1911 triumph dispelled the belief it was impossible to fly from water.

For Captain Edward Wakefield, thrice mayor of Kendal, Army officer, barrister and landowner, it was testimony to his determination to achieve the ‘unattainable’.

The share launch, on November 25, marks the 102nd anniversary of the magnificent man and his flying machine’s momentous ascent.

Component shares are part of a scheme by the Lakes Flying Company (LFC), co-founded by Wakefield with descendants in its ranks. LFC’s Ian Gee said: “These are exciting times. Construction is under way and a major obstacle in the ultimate journey has been removed.

“Thanks to a recent Defra ruling, the Lake District National Park Authority now has the power to grant exemption orders to Windermere’s speed limit. We are appealing to the country to back us. This is a unique opportunity to be part of a compelling story signalling the birth of naval and civil hydro-aeroplanes in the UK.

“The new Waterbird could be flying within a year.”

Twenty-two parts are up for adoption, including wings, fuselage, engine, propeller and floats. Most are split into 50 shares, while the £4,500 needed for turnbuckles is divided into 1,500 £3 units.

The replica is being built in Lincoln, spearheaded by former RAF serviceman, Gerry Cooper, who plans to take the controls when it is ready to fly from Windermere’s waters. Mr Gee said some of the original parts including the rudder, bearing the name of her builders, AV Roe, of Manchester, were held by the RAF’s museum service.

Beatrix Potter and Canon Rawnsley, co-founder of the National Trust, fronted a heated campaign against Wakefield’s airborne activities on Windermere.

But with the support of Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty, a public inquiry came out in Waterbird’s favour.

Bowness Bay Brewing Company has named a new beer Waterbird Wheat, also to be launched on November 25. Donations from every bottle and barrel will be paid into the fund.

Full information on the adoption scheme for parts will be on new website on November 25.