Borders Gliding Club

FLYING HIGH: The Annual General Meeting of Borders Gliding Club was held at Milfield aerodrome with over 70 members attending.

Club chairman Mark Fielding gave a very positive report on progress over the last year despite the wider social and economic challenges of the recession.

The club has continued to gain new members in the last year 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 a letter of support from Patrick Naegeli, chairman of the British Gliding Association, who wrote that Borders Gliding Club was acknowledged throughout the UK as having created one of the best airfields in the country, with superb facilities and a reputation for safe, responsible flying.

It was in all respects, he concluded, a role model for the gliding movement in Britain and was much envied by pilots in other, less well-endowed clubs.

The club’s treasurer John Richardson delivered a healthy set of accounts and reported that the cub was 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 success of the club’s general flying progress with 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 also 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’ which 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 like bed and breakfasts and hotels, and particularly for Milfield’s Red Lion pub and the Black Bull at Etal.

After the formal business was concluded, trophies were presented to those members who had acheived outstanding flight goals in the past year, or who had contributed to the success of the gliding club by other forms of service.

The club was created entirely by volunteer-effort and no club member receives payment of any kind for their work as instructors, tug-pilots, ground-management or technical services.

The Urwin Trophy, which commemorates past chairman Alan Urwin, of Kyloe, 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 the club where the record is more than 28,000 ft, 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 finally 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, without whose work the club simply could not function.

Keith concluded by saying that the lifeblood of any gliding club depended on the recruitment of new members and trainee pilots. Anyone who would like to learn to fly to get in touch via the website at: http://www.bordersgliding.co.uk/