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News Archive > General > High flying challenge for intrepid fundraising duo

High flying challenge for intrepid fundraising duo

By Andy Laming 19th July 2017

High flying challenge for intrepid fundraising duo
HIGH FLYING: Tanya Williams from the Polgooth Inn

TWO intrepid volunteers took to the skies for charity last week in a veteran bi-plane.

However 84 year-old Ken Williams  and Polgooth Inn landlady Tanya Williams (no relation), shunned the comfort of a seat for the rush of the wind atop the wing of an 80-year-old bi-plane.

For ace pilot Mike Dentith and his 1942 Boeing Stearman PT 17 Kaydet, a veteran of the Second World War this was routine stuff. However, for Ken raising money for the Samaritans, and Tanya for Cornwall  Hospice Care, this was a dream come true.

Following the cancellation of their flights the previous day due to unsuitable weather,  conditions on the day of the walk could hardly have been better with clear blue skies and bright sunshine greeting the veteran plane as it taxied across the grass runway at Cornwall Flying Club near Bodmin to line up on runway 31. Both high flying passengers got a first aeriel glimpse of the new A30 section at Temple.

Pilot Mike, with over 5,000 flying hours at the controls accumulated during a 25 year career is one of the worlds most experienced display pilots and he told the Voice his craft is equally resilien, Mike explained: “The Boeing Stearman PT17 Kaydet was first designed in the 1930s as a Pilot trainer in the USA and between 1939 and 1948 some 10,000 aircraft were produced. It was very rugged and straightforward to fly teaching both Army and Navy pilots the basic skills of flight.

“In the 1950s it became the workhorse of the crop-spraying industry in America and was only replaced by helicopters in the late 1970’.

“Some people might remember the classic Hitchcock film ‘North by North West’, in which Cary Grant is chased by a low flying aircraft across a desert like landscape – that was a Stearman. In the last twenty years more and more of these aircraft have been restored and displayed at Airshows and fly-ins.”

The efforts of Ken and Tanya have resulted in Tanya nearly doubling her original anticipated total of £1,000 whilst Ken’s total is around £1,200 benefiting of course Cornwall Hospice Care and the Samaritans respectively.

By Andy Laming 19th July 2017

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