In the beginning…                                                                                                                                                           The Sittingbourne Club has its origins in 1970, when a keen modeller, Richard Coveney, had a letter published in the East Kent Gazette looking for others of a like mind to form a model-flying club. From this letter he received eight replies, including one each from Derek Swales, Trevor Jordan, Ken Holmes, Colin Lemmis, Bob Meadows and Tony Andrews, which formed the basis of the new club. Richard was elected Chairman and Tony became the Secretary. Twice monthly meetings were held at the Golden Ball public house in Church Road Murston. In those early years flying sessions were held at Murston Recreation Ground, which was restricted to control line, small gliders and rubber powered models.  

Photo from the East Kent Gazette 1970.

Back: Trevor Jordan, NK, Colin Lemmis

Front: Tony Andrews, Richard Coveney, Derek Swales, Ken Holmes, NK

 

Free flight and single channel radio control flying was conducted initially at Walderslade, that was before houses were built there. Only after a few weeks at Walderslade, Tony Andrews, through one of his contacts, was able to secure the use of a large field at Straymarsh on the isle of Sheppey. With this new field the club could now expand. An article on the club published in the local paper in October of that year, encouraged further interest from the local community.  

Richard Coveney gives a helping hand to Ken Holmes

 

Among the new members were Doug Platt, Dave Monk, Trevor Grey, John Weeks, Brian Broad and Dennis Young, the latter becoming the clubs chief test pilot. Doug Platt and John Weeks along with Derek Swales are still active members of the club. Trevor Jordan has been awarded life membership in recognition of his services to the club.  

Milton Scouts open day

 

Throughout the Seventies and Eighties the club grew in membership numbers until the club had over one hundred active flyers. As technology improved and the radio gear became more sophisticated so did the types and size of models. All aspects of model flying were undertaken by the members, including scale, sport, fun-fly, thermal gliders, helicopters and free flight. The club became affiliated to the British Model Flying Association (BMFA) the controlling body for the sport of model flying. The club also became active in the Kent Inter-club organisation, participating in the power and gliding competitions. In the mid Nineteen Nineties the club, through a change in land ownership, lost the use of the field at Straymarsh, a bitter blow to the club. With the help of a local farmer, the club were able to secure the use of a field at Stockbury near Sittingbourne. Although not ideal, the field enabled the club to survive.  At that time the club were invited to take part in a series of programs being made by the Meridian Television Company entitled ‘A Grand Day Out’. A day’s filming took place at the new field, which produced a ten-minute program screened later that year.    

Some of the models on display for the cameras

 

To ensure a future for the club, the committee contacted a local landowner and were able to secure a permanent and more suitable field to use as a model flying field.                                                                                                                           In the Present….                                                                                                                                                               The club now enjoys the use of a good flying field with easy access and well away from habitation. The members fly all types of models from the new ARTF, park flyers, and foam models to the conventional built up models from either plans or kits. As technology has improved, so has the use of modern radio gear by our members, including the new 2.4Ghz radios. The members of the club are always willing to impart their experience and knowledge to the less informed, and help with any training needs new members may require.