A fond farewell bid to Haddenham Airfield after 53 years of flight

A photo taken by Gary Newbrook in 2015, while gliding
A photo taken by Gary Newbrook in 2015, while gliding

Weather permitting, the final flight from Haddenham Airfield will take place on December 9 2018.

On 20th December The Upward Bound Trust’s license to use the airfield expires.

Gary Newbrook, who is a volunteer and pilot having learned to fly at the airfield back in 2006, said: "For the past 53 years, on weekends and public holidays, if you had looked skywards over Haddenham and Thame, you may have been lucky enough to have caught sight of something special.

"There has been flying at Haddenham since 1939. Gliding has been a part of the Haddenham skyline since World War 2. During the war, it was chosen as the location for No.1 Glider Training School (the Officer’s Mess was the Swan Hotel in Thame).

"Pilots who had learned to fly at Haddenham flew into places like Pegasus Bridge during the D-Day landings. These pilots were a very special breed – there are plenty of stories of their exploits both in the aircraft and out.

However, sadly the time has come for the Airfield to close, as developers will be using the space to build houses.

In the 53 years of the Upward Bound Trust, with the help of volunteer instructors and ground crew, hundreds have been taught to fly with many, many more given the experience of flight through trial lessons.

Some airline pilots traking you overseas today will have been, and still are glider pilots. A proportion will have learned at Haddenham.

Gary added: "The Upward Bound Trust sponsors young people to learn to fly (£150 or so for a 14 year old!).

"As a charity the UBT has received lots of support from local people and businesses. As one of those volunteers who has watched the faces of joy as a young person flies solo for the first time, I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you.

"Although the gliding club will cease to be, the Upward Bound Trust will continue. If you are a young person who would like to learn to fly gliders, head over www.ubt.org.uk for details.

"Remember to look up; although moving to Banbury, the old members will still be using Thame Church for a turning point as the gliding adventure continues."