John died after a long illness on Saturday 29th of January 2022. Having moved from the area to Alicante in Southern Spain soon after retirement where he and his wife Irene lived for 14 years before returning to the UK after John had developed Parkinson’s, to live close to their son Andrew’s family. Andrew, who was prominent junior member of the WMAC is now an Air Traffic Controller at Aberdeen International Airport.
John Joined the Wimborne Model Aero Club (WMAC) in 1974 not long after our formation and brought with him a wealth of helpful experience being already a very able flyer and consummate builder of both scale and sport models. He served as our Chairman for a few years and can be seen here on the left presenting Jim Rodgers with the Aerobatic trophy, I can’t think who the other bloke is. John is also on the left of the group photo with the Jubilee Flyer.
In 1977, the year of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, John responded to the committee’s plans to do something to honour the Jubilee (and make a bit of cash on the side). He designed and constructed a model we called The Jubilee Flyer (image right) which was used in the club’s successful attempt to create a record for distance flown round a closed circuit and on May 21st.
[Frank Robinson], who we lost just over six years ago, drove a pick-up containing the pilots and BMFA observer while circulating the roads of East Dorset for a record 109 miles. The Jubilee Flyer, was later put to good use at the Great Dorset Steam Fair, or Stourpaine Steam Rally, as it was called in those days. The WMAC supported the event for three successive years taking the opportunity to do some much needed fund raising with static and flying displays including ‘commercial’ banner towing using the Jubilee Flyer as a tug.
John was the leading light in the formation of both our Display team and, of probably even greater long term value, the club training scheme. He also built our first (of many!) trainers, the 3 channel Kamco Kadet. In those days junior members formed up to 20% of our membership and the training scheme was a great attraction.
John, who had already progressed his gliding experience to solo status, will be fondly remembered for organising a number of gliding holidays where four or five of us would decamp to Shobdon Airfield, home of the Hereford Aero Club (formerly known as the Pembridge Landing Ground where, during WWII, it was the base for No.5 Glider Training School. We were there for a whole week of gliding and three of our members, after attending a couple of courses, got to fly solo after being aero towed up to 2,000ft behind the Shobdon Piper Cub tug. We always broke our journey to Hereford with a couple of hours of slope soaring on the Malverns and, when it was too windy to fly the full size gliders, we did a bit of power flying on the airfield! Life could be great fun when John was around. Sadly, a valuable mould is now broken