Gliding club up with best in UK

Macmillan Cancer relief photo - Lianne Hollingsworth after her 4th Solo flight
Macmillan Cancer relief photo - Lianne Hollingsworth after her 4th Solo flight

The British Gliding Association chairman has praised the Borders Gliding Club for having created one of the best airfields in the UK, with superb facilities and a reputation for safe, responsible flying.

In a letter to the club read out at the annual general meeting, Patrick Naegeli wrote that the BGC is a “role model for the gliding movement” in Britain that it is envied by pilots in other, less well endowed clubs.

Seventy members attended the AGM at Milfield aerodrome on April 2, and listened to chairman Mark Fielding giving a very positive report on the club’s progress over the past year, despite the wider social and economic challenges of the recession.

The club has continued to gain new members and celebrated its 40th anniversary with a highly successful dinner at Alnwick Castle, which drew former members from all over the UK. Mark concluded by reading out the letter of support from Mr Naegeli.

Treasurer John Richardson delivered a healthy set of accounts and reported that the club is holding its own despite the economic downturn.

Chief flying instructor Keith Latty gave a confident summary of his second year in post, and reported the training of five new basic instructors, who will move on to be trained as assistant instructors during this coming season. He also noted the club’s adoption of the young person’s flying initiative, and the successful flying courses which had been enjoyed by Northumberland adult education students, as well as schools, youth groups and scout-groups in the county.

He noted the repeated success of the club’s visitor flying weeks, by which glider pilots from many clubs travel to Northumberland to enjoy the superb ‘wave flying’ the Cheviot Hills offer, often taking visitors to heights of 20,000 feet or more. These flying weeks bring dozens of pilots to Milfield each year and generate additional income for local businesses.

After the formal business was concluded trophies were presented to those members who achieved outstanding flight goals in the past year, or who had contributed to the success of the gliding club by other forms of service. BGC club was created by volunteers and no club member receives payment of any kind for their work as instructors, tug-pilots, ground-management or technical services.

The Urwin Trophy was jointly presented to Andrew Bardgett of Bamburgh and Jules Sutton for the highest glider flight of the year. Both achieved a height-gain of more than 15,000 feet in unpowered gliders. Such heights are not uncommon at BGC, where the club record is more than 28,000ft, held by Peter Johnson.

Keith Latty presented the Coulson Trophy to Richard Abercrombie of Alnwick, one of the youngest instructors in the club, for his outstanding contribution to pilot-training, flight-education and the club’s young person’s flying initiative.

Steve Marriot of Kirknewton was awarded the Boomerang Trophy for the best ‘out and return’ flight of the season and he also won the Old Git’s Trophy for a triangular flight of more than 100km, starting at Milfield, flying to Rothbury, then to Charterhall across the Tweed near Coldstream and landing back at the club base.

The President’s Trophy was awarded to Alan Walker of Otterburn for his outstanding, and often unsung, contribution as committee secretary.