Statue of aviation pioneers unveiled at Brooklands Museum

A STATUE commemorating the first non-stop flight across the Atlantic more than 100 years ago has been unveiled at Brooklands Museum.

The statue, of Captain Sir John Alcock and Lieutenant Sir Arthur Whitten Brown, had been at Heathrow Airport since 1954 when it was first put on display after the government commissioned  sculptor William McMillen to celebrate the pioneers.

Sir Gerald Acher, chairman of Brooklands trustees, Tamalie Newbery, the museum director, Prince Michael, Group Captain Tony Alcock, Sir John’s nephew, and Chris Garton, chief operating officer of Heathrow Airport toast the newly unveiled statue of the aeronautical pioneers

It is now part of Brooklands’ exhibition The First to the Fastest, which includes a replica Vickers Vimy biplane of the type Alcock and Brown flew from Newfoundland, Canada, to Clifden, Ireland, in June 1919.

The statue was unveiled by Prince Michael of Kent, the Brooklands Patron, in front of guests, including relatives of Alcock and Brown.

The Vimy replica in the The First to the Fastest exhibition at Brooklands

The pioneering flight took places as a result of a £10,000 prize, roughly £300,000 now, offered by a national newspaper for the first trans-Atlantic flight.

They beat several other teams competing for the prize in a hazardous journey through cloud, thick fog, snow and ice.

Alcock’s nephew, Group Captain Tony Alcock, recalled his uncle’s early career and friendship with Brown.

“Their time spent together at Brooklands was such a happy and rewarding time of their lives. The statue of these intrepid aviators is symbolic of their partnership and I’m delighted it has finally been reunited with Brooklands. It completes the Vimy story at Brooklands Museum,” Mr Alcock said.

Prince Michael chats to Dame Penelope Keith, the actress, and Lord Trefgarne, who are both supporters of the museum and former trustees, with Sir Gerald Archer, left

Chris Garton, chief operating officer of Heathrow Airport said: “We’re all really pleased the statue has moved here, to Brooklands, the birthplace of aviation.

“It’s the rightful place for it and hopefully it will be here for many years, if not forever. It’s been great working with Brooklands Museum to move the statue here, and I’m looking forward to building on the collaboration between Heathrow Airport and Brooklands Museum.”

For the full story get the 13 February edition of the News & Mail

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