A LIFE-sized replica Spitfire will take centre stage at the Birkenhead Park Festival of Transport later this month.

The iconic aircraft's appearance at the event, taking place on September 13 and 14 - will mark the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

The event will mark the formal launch of the 'Tribute to Lesotho Project' which will see a replica Spitfire being presented to the government of Lesotho from the people of Great Britain before it is placed in the Royal Palace on public view.

The Spitfire Heritage Trust has organised the initiative to celebrate the importance of the Spitfire and strengthen links with Commonwealth countries who contributed towards Britain's forces during the second world war.

The Kingdom of Lesotho is one little - known African country (formerly Basutoland) which provided Britain with 24 spitfire fighter planes in 1940 - enough to supply two entire RAF squadrons.

Ian Hewitt, co-founder of the Spitfire Heritage Trust, said: "We are delighted that the Spitfire will be welcomed at the Birkenhead Park Festival of Transport and thrilled that the event will mark the launch of the Lesotho Project.

"Not many people are aware that this tiny country, with a population of just 400,00, made such a hugely generous gesture at a time when Britain's forces desperately needed help.

"The Project will raise awareness of Lethoso's vital contribution to the war effort and will also mark the beginning of a number of initiatives aimed at strengthening links between the two countries and children of Liverpool and Lesotho.

"The Spitfire is a truly remarkable aircraft flown by ordinary people. It is fantastic that members of the public can now come and experience it for themselves in Birkenhead."

The Lesotho project is being supported by the local children's charity Liverpool Heartbeat.

Founder Robin Baynes MBE said: "Liverpool Heartbeat is delighted to be working with The Spitfire Heritage Trust, informing, educating and inspiring young people across Merseyside.

"It is so important that young people understand how the past influences their lives and to believe that they too, can influence the future.

"We'll be bringing children over from Lesotho to work and engage with Liverpool children, and taking local youngsters back to Lesotho to be a part of the Royal presentation.

"The Lesotho Tribute project will change young lives in both Liverpool and Lesotho. We are developing fantastic projects through 2015 from the Bikes for Lesotho Project to the Tri4life Katse Dam to Maseru Challenge”.

David Spencer Evans, chair of the Spitfire Heritage Trust, said: "It is difficult, 75 years on, for current generations to appreciate the enormity and lasting effects the events of the 1930s and 40s had on most of the world.

"It is a question of honour that we not only remember the sacrifices made by our own but also the massive contribution from the Kingdom of Lesotho.

"We are proud to be over half way through the construction of the replica Spitfire which will be presented next year as a gift of thanks to the people of Lesotho from the people of Great Britain."