TO mark the hundredth year since Hilda Hewlett became the first British woman to receive her pilot licence, Buckminster Gliding Club is inviting ladies to join them in celebrating this achievement at their ‘Women in the Air Day’.
The club, based at Saltby airfield, aims to get as many women as possible in the air on Bank Holiday Monday, in a bid to boost the number of women enjoying this incredible activity.
Although going up in a glider may seem a daunting and scary prospect, I assure you it’s not. I went up and it took my breath away, left me absolutely speechless.
It is absolutely mesmerising being up in the air with it all so quiet, an amazing experience you cannot get from any other sport.
I had a chance to talk to Cathy Lawrence, 79, who has been a member of the gliding club for 30 years. She is an integral part of the team and urges people to give it a go.
Cathy, who appeared in the Walls ‘Bring it on Granny Glider’ advert on TV last year, said: “I get more pleasure from taking other people up than flying myself, because I really feel I’m giving something back to the sport.”
Tracy Meech is another female member who is passionate about flying. She said: “It’s the most amazing feeling, it’s so surreal with it being so quiet.”
Something that really struck me was the complete sense of community within the club, there are people from all ages and all walks of life that come together because of their passion for gliding.
As I watched a cadet flying, instructor Pete Uden explained how he gets a lump in his throat everytime he watches them fly solo for the first time.
I also had a chance to chat to the cadet, Simon Holland, 18, after his flight.
With a huge grin on his face, he said: “I always sing to myself while I’m up there, I think that’s because I’m so happy.”
The club began some 40 years ago and has gone from strength to strength, with about 110 members now on the books.
I was lucky enough to get a tour from Christopher Fincham, which included the recently refurbished clubhouse. The renovation was funded from donations from the members and volunteers, showing ever more clearly the sense of community within the club. It is a brilliant place offering a fantastic experience you don’t get to do everyday.
‘Women in the Air Day’ is a perfect opportunity to see the amazing things that go on at this unique and special club, and at a special price of just £35 for a winch flight.
To book, call 01476 860385.
l Information: www.buckminstergc.co.uk