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20th October 2021 de Havilland Aircraft Museum

Following the cancellation of the 2020 Reunion due to Covid-19, a tentative date of September 22nd was set for 2021, expecting the pandemic to allow it to be held by then. Regulations were relaxed, but not by much. Duxford reopened. We asked a Friend of Duxford to see what was happening and report back. Adult entry price was £25. We had struggled in the past to obtain a group entry price, in spite of bringing at least 40 people to the Museum on a quiet day. Food prices had hit the roof. A cup of coffee and small scone cost £8.40. Pre booking was required for everyone. There were queues and masks. We abandoned September 22nd and started looking elsewhere.

The de Havilland Aircraft Museum were keen to have us and offered October 20th, later than we normally like to go but we were hoping Covid regulations would continue to ease. Pre booking would be required, but the price was £25 to include entry and a finger luncheon buffet, free tea and coffee available all day and our sole use of the mezzanine floor in the new hangar. We accepted.

The statistics – 32 people pre booked and paid. 18 people sent apologies. 3 people who had booked cancelled through illness (not Covid). So 29 attended.

The main reasons for the apologies were that with the relaxing of travel restrictions, people were either working again or taking the opportunity before winter for the first family holiday for over a year.

The Museum is situated just south of the M25 at Junction 22.  The advantage of its location is that it can be approached if necessary without driving on the M25 or using Junction 22, but by minor roads.

We were allocated our own parking area and on arrival had coffee and biscuits.  At 11 a.m.  the President of the de Havilland Aircraft Museum, Mr Philip Birtles, welcomed us and told us something of the history of Sir Geoffrey de Havilland and the extensive range of the de Havilland manufactured items in the Museum.

We found that the Museum had prepared for our visit by producing a WELCOME AIR UK poster with 146 photographs, which we were asked to sign. Copies will be available to purchase later. There is a photograph of Jeremy and Noel holding it up for the camera.

We were free to wander wherever we wished throughout the Museum, especially the section housing the three Mosquitos including the prototype, returning to the mezzanine whenever we wished to sit down and chat or have another tea or coffee.

At 1 p.m. we had our buffet lunch, sitting at round tables for seven, catching up on news, and then having another look round and reading the information boards next to the exhibits. There was an original Gee set which Philip Birtles told me  had an incredible power consumption so they couldn’t switch it on. . I wondered if the lights in nearby St Albans would have dimmed…..

The weather had been showery all day and it was dark relatively early, so most people started leaving just after 4 p.m. – the Museum closed at 5 p.m. We all had a very happy and friendly day.

From the AIR UK team of Clive, Adele and Carl, THANK YOU to President Philip Birtles of the de Havilland Aircraft Museum and his staff, particularly Lesley and Andrew who looked after us so well. 

Our own photographer, Roger Stanley, merits a great vote of thanks for his pictures and also those contributed by John Best and Clive.

Thanks to Carl, the website supremo, the 2021 Reunion news is available worldwide……

The photos from the day can be viewed on the Reunion Photos Page.

See you all next year,

Adele Stephenson

AirUK Reunion 2021
AirUK Reunion 2021
Those Attending – 29
Anderson Norman Harrold Andy Robinson Barry
Ashdown Gavin Hughes Paul Stanley Roger
Best John Kemp Martyn Stephenson Adele
Boreham Peter + 1 Kerr Clive Taylor Jeremy
Crossman Dave Manley Helen Wilson Judith
Davison John McBurnie Micky Wilton Geoff
Elliott Nick McCarthy Ett Woods Gordon
Evans Noel Mitchell Tom Young Robert
Fenton Mark O’Connell Chris  
Fricker Glen Rawlings Pete  
Apologies From Absent Friends – 18
Anderson Catherine Kemp Bill
Angell Angie Mahmood Alam
Burlison Stephanie North Maria
Buttle Robin Saunders Giles
Cowan Don Sharpe Will
Gates Tim Symonds Ben
Gold Jerry Trendell Nick
France Carl Watt Cara
Henderson Suzie Williams Colin