Watch the skies - aero club’s 90th anniversary unites old Norfolk flyers

Former members of the Norfolk & Norwich Aero Club, at the Northrepps Aerodrome, for a reunion in the

Former members of the Norfolk & Norwich Aero Club, at the Northrepps Aerodrome, for a reunion in the club's 90th year, John Hoyte, left, and Peter Lawton, right, who are chatting to local pilot Tony Walsh who flew in from Ludham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

It was a feast for the eyes as dozens of aircraft took to the skies to celebrate the 90th anniversary of a flying club.

Former members of the Norfolk & Norwich Aero Club, chat at the Northrepps Aerodrome, for a reunion i

Former members of the Norfolk & Norwich Aero Club, chat at the Northrepps Aerodrome, for a reunion in the club's 90th year. From left, Alan Johnson, who joined in 1960; John Hoyte, 1976; and Peter Lawton, 1977. Alan Johnson is wearing his club woolly hat and 1960 blazer. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

The Norfolk & Norwich Aero Club's 90th anniversary and reunion was held at Northrepps international airport, near Cromer, over the weekend of May 20/21.

It was a chance for old members of the club, which was first formed in 1927, to reunite and bring along old photographs and flying memorabilia.

George Rogers, from Yaxham, was one of the former members who attended the get-together.

He learned to fly at Swanton Morley in 1959, when he was just 18. He said: 'Taffy Rich was my instructor and I learned on a Tiger Moth. 'I also flew with Neil Williams who was the aerobatics champ of the time. It's nice to come back and meet some of the other old members. I'm now 75 and I don't still fly.'

Roger Haverson with his Cessna. Pictures: David Bale

Roger Haverson with his Cessna. Pictures: David Bale - Credit: Archant

Valerie Soame was one of the few female pilots who took to the skies in the 1960s. She learned to fly in 1962 at Swanton Morley.

She no longer flies but she did book a flight on a gyro copter at the event to show she was still game.

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Her husband John was unable to attend, but she brought along a clipping from the Eastern Daily Press, dated November 13, 1964, when they were named the most promising flying students.

Now 82 and living in Sprowston, she said: 'I used to fly a Tiger Moth. I was a typist then and spent all my money on flying rather than holidays. Amy Johnson was a typist as well.'

George Rogers. Pictures: David Bale

George Rogers. Pictures: David Bale - Credit: Archant

Roger Haverson flew his Cessna 150 Aerobat from Old Buckenham, where it's based, to the event. The 76-year-old, who lives near Ely, said: 'I learned on a Cessna 152 in 1982. I also trained at Swanton Morley. It's great to meet old members.'

Organiser John Hoyte said: 'We had about 20 old members over the weekend. It's also lovely to remember the old instructors who taught us how to fly. I learned in 1976/77 and we've had others from the 1960s and 1980s, so there's been a cross-section of old members.'

Airfield operator Chris Gurney said about 70 people who learned to fly at the club had been tracked down, plus some of the engineers and office staff.

Other former members who attended included Alan Johnson, who joined in 1960 and was wearing his club woolly hat and 1960 blazer, and Peter Lawton, who joined in 1977.

Valerie Soame with a printout from the EDP from 1964. Pictures: David Bale

Valerie Soame with a printout from the EDP from 1964. Pictures: David Bale - Credit: Archant

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