Man who spent £25,000 on sign giving directions to fake airport in Wales ends joke

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Man who spent £25,000 on sign giving directions to fake airport in Wales ends 20-year joke – but hopes heritage body will pay for its upkeep

  • A billboard pointing to Llandegley International has become a landmark
  • Sign indicating terminals 1 and 3 located between Rhayader and Kington
  • But that only leads to the field on the outskirts of Llandegley two and a half miles away
  • Nicholas Whitehead spent £25,000 erecting a sign near the village of Powys in 2002
  • He has now decided to end the joke, popular among tourists.

A man who spent £25,000 on a sign giving directions to a fake airport in Wales has ended the long-running joke – and now hopes

A billboard pointing to Llandegley International has become a landmark since it was first erected by Nicholas Whitehead near the rural village of Powys in 2002.

Drivers traveling east along the A44 between Rhayader and Kington encounter signs for Terminals 1 and 3 at the imaginary airport.

But the sign only leads to a field on the outskirts of Llandegley, two and a half miles away, reports the BBC.

Mr Whitehead, a journalist who has previously written with Monty Python’s Terry Jones, spent £25,000 on the panel two decades ago after a “wild chat” with friends one evening.

He has now decided to end the joke, but is launching a campaign to have the institution he founded officially recognised.

A billboard pointing to Llandegley International has become a landmark since it was first erected by Nicholas Whitehead (pictured left) near the rural village of Powys in 2002

Drivers traveling east along the A44 between Rhayader and Kington encounter signs for Terminals 1 and 3

Drivers traveling east along the A44 between Rhayader and Kington encounter signs for Terminals 1 and 3

Mr Whitehead said: ‘We thought about renting a sign for something that wasn’t really there, maybe a project that didn’t exist, and we settled at the airport.’

“It started as a joke, then we realized it was actually possible. It was made by Wrexham Signs, given the deal, one thing led to another and that’s it.

The sign has since become increasingly popular and now attracts tourists to the area.

He added: “I think the airport is established now – and I think the establishment should take care of it.”

“It’s not exactly a national monument, but it is a national treasure.”

Mr Whitehead now hopes the heritage organization Cadw will be interested in taking over maintenance of the sign.

He said: “It has become part of Welsh heritage. It wouldn’t cost them as much as it cost me. In terms of value for money, it’s unbeatable.

Local resident Holly Richards also described the sign as “part of our community”, and many are sad to see it disappear.

She added: ‘I have lived in Llandegley all my life. The sign is part of our community.

“It’s a bit of a running gag – people joke that they’ve just flown into Llandegley and are flying back tomorrow. It’s a wonderful feature.

Neil Richards, a local farmer, also said it helped put the rural village on the map.

He added: ‘There is no end of people who saw and heard of the sign who stopped by our farm on the edge of Radnor Forest, asking how to find the airport.

Local resident Holly Richards also described the sign as

Local resident Holly Richards also described the sign as ‘part of our community’, with many sad to see it go

The sign (pictured) only leads to a field on the outskirts of Llandegley two and a half miles away

The sign (pictured) only leads to a field on the outskirts of Llandegley two and a half miles away

“Apparently two United States Air Force planes landed nearby while on a military mission during World War II.”

The fake airport has gained a large following on social media.

Mr Whitehead said: ‘The sign is just a sign. The sign may come down but the airport is still there. The airport exists the same way songs exist.

“If you set fire to the piece of paper that Paul McCartney wrote Yesterday on, it won’t destroy the song.

“The song exists as a shared experience; it is indestructible. It’s the same with the airport.

The sign was changed to honor airport fan Jill Dibling after her death. His family was touched by this poignant tribute.

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