The Walsh celebrates its 50th
Each January for 49 years, Matamata aerodrome has been a hive of activity for 16–19-year-olds attending the Walsh Memorial Scout Flying School.
On Saturday 16 January 2016, the airfield will play host to past students, staff, volunteers, fire fighters, air traffic controllers, sponsors, kitchen staff, meteorologists and instructors to celebrate the 50th Walsh Memorial Scout Flying School.
Daytime celebrations include the reunion, an aviation event and an afternoon of reconnecting. The evening function will be held at Hobbiton where the stories will continue!
Walsh director Gordon Ragg is excited by the 50th celebrations. “We invite all past ‘Walshies’ to join us in celebrating 50 years of the school,” he says.
“There will be many aircraft visiting the aerodrome from all over the country, and we look forward to reconnecting and remembering the history of the school and are excited to see it influence many more youth in the years to come.
“Of course ‘The Walsh’ wouldn’t be here today, almost 50 years after it was first started, without passionate volunteers who are prepared to share their skills and experience with the youth of today to challenge and inspire them.”
The Walsh has been the aviation catalyst of many teenagers over the years. Bronwyn Scott was an ab-initio student in 2002. She returned in 2003, went on to gain her CPL and instructor’s rating, returning in 2006 to influence the next generation. The photo is of Bronnie and her first-ever student, Keagan Gaarkeuken, who has also followed the aviation path and has returned to share his knowledge as an instructor in recent years.
Many students go on to have successful careers within the aviation sector and, while many choose another path, all remain exhilarated by that first solo moment—followed shortly by the traditional dunking!
Tickets are on sale now. They can be purchased and more information found at http://walsh50.co.nz
- Report and photograph by Nicholas McIndoe.
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