A SECOND World War Spitfire which was due to pay tribute to staff at York Hospital this morning with a flypast has been forced to turn back and return to base because of poor weather.

The iconic aircraft, with the message 'THANK U NHS ' emblazoned under its wings, was due to fly over the hospital at about 10.55am but has had to return to Duxford Airfield in Cambridgeshire.

The Aircraft Restoration Company, which owns the Spitfire, has posted this message on Facebook this morning: “The weather has taken an unexpected turn for the worse with low cloud and poor visibility forcing the NHS Spitfire to return to Duxford.

"Further updates will be posted as soon as we have more information."

The blue photo-reconnaissance Spitfire is touring hospitals around the UK as it takes flight to raise funds for NHS Charities Together.