Bader Braves Flying Day – White Waltham: A Day to Remember

Bader Braves - copy

BADER BRAVES is an initiative of the DOUGLAS BADER FOUNDATION (Charity Commission Registration Number:800435)

The BADER BRAVES Young Aviators’ Day at the West London Aero Club, White Waltham, took place on Sunday 18th July and, as at the same venue last year, was a wonderful event thoroughly enjoyed by all who attended.

White Waltham Logo

“Just wanted to say thanks very much.  The kids loved their flights.” (Heather Moors)

The West London Aero Club again did everyone proud. They  worked extraordinarily hard both up front and behind the scenes to ensure that the day ran smoothly and again provided the laid back and enjoyable atmosphere that seems so special to this lovely airfield. There are so many people to thank; firstly, a big one, to Deny Batchelor, Operations Manager, who was responsible for pulling the whole thing together and remained wonderfully cheerful while she did(!); the airfield ground crew and staff who worked so hard (in at least one case putting in one, if not two, 18 hour days); the tireless helpers; the caterers who produced an excellent picnic lunch and perhaps the most heartfelt thank you of all, particularly where the children are concerned, as in all our Young Aviators Days, to the wonderful pilots without whom, of course, these events couldn’t take place at all. As well as the use of their precious aeroplanes they so generously offer their time, their fuel and their skills time and again to give the children and, where possible, siblings and other willing members of their families, an experience they will never forget – what is ofter their first experience of flight in a light aircraft. Their patience seems to know no bounds and their willingness and desire to make the experience as good as it can possibly be for the children is what makes these events the success they undoubtedly are. If piloting children from the area, they will often go to the trouble of flying them over their homes and schools and other places they know to give them the unique experience of seeing these familiar places from the air. We can’t thank them enough for their kindness and generosity. On Sunday there were 11 aeroplanes; 14 pilots; 48 flights and a total of 148 people flown throughout the day with some of the enthusiastic youngster having 2 or even 3 goes – a pretty fantastic achievement. Thank you all very, very much.

“…thank you for such an awesome day yesterday. It was such a treat for the children and an experience they will never forget. Samuel was very proud of himself that he went up by himself in the plane – and sat in the front.” (Ric and Lindy Garvey)

Sunday was quite a special BADER BRAVES Young Aviators’ Day in other ways, as well. Lady Bader, widow of Sir Douglas, was there enjoying the spectacle and chatting to a few of the children about her famous husband. She mentioned how Sir Douglas would have approved of the Flying Days and how much he would have loved to be there to participate (or, as somebody added, take over…!).

“Thank you all so much for a fantastic day.  We all had such fun….” (The Sneesbys)

Pat Barnard, who has recently founded Art To Fly, a very classy Website selling original aviation art, signed prints and collectibles to raise funds for the Bader Braves Young Aviators Days was also there to hand over the first cheque and donations raised by his Website to Keith Delderfield of the Douglas Bader Foundation. We are deeply grateful to Pat for this wonderful idea and for the work that he has put into making it such a success already. We are very proud to be associated with the venture. You can see more about Art To Fly via the link at the bottom of this article*. It was great for him to be there to share the thoroughly enjoyable and undoubtedly worthwhile end result of his efforts and lovely to think that those efforts will result in the Douglas Bader Foundation being able to hold more of these very special events next year.

Our thanks to those people who gave donations to the charity – one in the form of 2 very large boxes of Walkers crisps as very welcome picnic contribution, thank you David Greenway for a lovely thought, I told you you’d get a mention! – and to some who intend to join us on the London 10k Run and other events next year. (We’ll hold you to that!!)

As always, the biggest thanks of all goes to the children whose enjoyment and enthusiasm make the Young Aviators Days so worthwhile. It is a privilege and a joy to be there to share it with you and your families. Thank you all for coming and for your infectious appreciation. We hope to see you again next year.

Some of the children, families and friends have said that they’ll send in their thoughts and photographs and I’ll add them to this post accordingly. Please keep checking in for updates.

Please click HERE to see a selection of Photographs kindly taken by Pat Barnard.

New Addition: Please click HERE to see a selection of photographs kindly sent to us by Richard Bickers

We are very grateful to Pat Barnard and Richard Bickers for these images, which help to sum up what these Bader Braves Flying Days are all about.

*Please click on the link to visit the Art To Fly Website

In case you haven’t seen it, Jessica Soanes has written a piece about her experience of the day, which is currently published as a separate post. You can read it by clicking HERE. We are very grateful to Jessica for this excellent contribution and hope it will encourage other children and their families to participate. A lovely photograph too; I don’t think there’s any doubt that Jessica enjoyed her experience.

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  2 comments for “Bader Braves Flying Day – White Waltham: A Day to Remember

  1. Rob Rogers
    November 22, 2013 at 4:43 am

    21 November 2013


    Yesterday, whilst attending a splendid birthday celebration for one of our Atlanta chapter Silver Wings Fraternity members who turned 93 (WWII P-51 AAF fighter pilot Bob “Punchy Powell), someone wore a rather keen looking White Waltham jersey that rather caught my eye! I asked him how he got it and he said someone gave it to him, lucky blighter! I looked you chaps up on the computer and am still quite enjoying your website! While I am at it, I thought I would write to enquire if you or someone should have this jersey for sale in new or used condition, size L or XL. Thanks so much for replying!

    I have spent quite a lot of time in the UK mainly up in Derbys, especially during my latter TWA days spending most weekends in London! By the way, I am one of the relatively few over on this side of the pond receiving UK telly so it is wonderful being able to keep up with national and regional events and programming.

    Cheers if you can scare me up a keen West London Aero Club jersey with the beautiful wings logo on it! Oh, in a pinch a patch or decal would certainly do!

    Cheers from,

    Rob Rogers

    p.s. I once corresponded with Grp Cpt Sir Douglas Bader just a few months before he went West. Wonderful man. One of our RAF members over here on Battle of Britain night in the late 80s told me Sir Douglas could indeed play a mean game of tennis on his tin legs!

    • wendy
      February 13, 2014 at 9:31 am

      Hi Rob,

      thank you for your comment. Unfortunately it has only just come to light!

      I’m glad you enjoy our Website. We’re currently upgrading it and making some changes so hopefully in a month or so it’ll be even better.

      I will certainly see if there’s a chance of getting hold of a White Waltham jersey (or, at very least, a patch or decal!) for you. We have another Young Aviators Day coming up at White Waltham on Sunday 6th July so will be at the Club then and in touch with them before. (I don’t know if you’re likely to be this side of the water then but you’d be welcome to visit and see one of our Young Aviators Days in action.)

      I’m glad you were in touch with Sir Douglas – he was pretty special and I can personally vouch for his ability on the tennis court. Even with his tin legs (and how he would have loved to be able to try out some of the wonderful prosthetic limbs currently available) he was a great athlete and sportsman.

      I will get back in touch about the jersey. We’ll keep our collective fingers crossed!

      Best wishes,


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