Lakes Flying Company wins year’s top British preservation prize
The Lakes Flying Company has won Aviation Heritage UK’s 2022 Robert Pleming Memorial Award for its re-creation and successful flying of the Waterbird, the first seaplane to fly with a stepped float, dating from 1911. The presentation was made as part of a ceremony during AHUK’s latest members’ meeting, held on 15 October at Hooton Park, Cheshire.
The Robert Pleming Award was inaugurated by AHUK in memory of its late chairman, and was created specifically to recognise innovation in the preservation, conservation and restoration of aviation heritage, in the spirit of the outstanding work Dr Pleming led in returning Vulcan B2 XH558 to the sky. For more on the Waterbird, look out for an upcoming full Aeroplane feature.
Alan Matlock received his individual award for his leading, as chairman of the Spitfire Makers Charitable Trust, of the 2021 campaign to save the Spitfire flight shed, which had been the only surviving building from the Second World War Supermarine factory at Eastleigh. Although that campaign ultimately failed, the achievement of Alan and his team in attracting more than 55,000 signatures to his petition has inspired and helped groups fighting to save other historic aviation structures such as the 1930s Miles Aircraft headquarters building at Woodley, Berkshire.
The RAF Heritage team of Wg Cdr Erica Ferguson and Sqn Ldr Rick Lipscomb was recognised with the group award for its outstanding work in building a strong working relationship between the RAF and museums and collections, especially in the independent sector, and making possible the placing of retired RAF assets with independent museums. This has been particularly evidenced by recent allocations of Panavia Tornados and BAe 146s to non-national collections.
The AHUK lifetime achievement awards for 2022 were made to Simon Ames OBE for his contribution to flying display management over many years, especially at Biggin Hill, and the revival of active flying at Brooklands; Jean and Ken Fostekew, founders, curators and managers of the Museum of Berkshire Aviation at Woodley from its origins in the mid/late-1980s up to the present day; Arthur Ord-Hume, Guildford-based pioneer light aircraft designer/pilot/promoter and well-known aviation author over many decades; Francis Hanford, founder curator of the Trenchard Museum at RAF Halton in 1999 and still a volunteer there; David Hassard for his work since 2012 on the ongoing Kingston Aviation Centenary Project to commemorate the creation of the Sopwith Aviation Company at Kingston upon Thames in 1912, including its comprehensive website and construction of the Brooklands Museum’s 1914 Sopwith Tabloid floatplane static replica; and Steve Sims of the East Midlands Aeropark, for his work of more than 20 years in restoring its Vulcan to an exceptional standard and working with others on its Canberra and Whirlwind.