Can you help with air show history?

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Sywell Aviation Museum is appealing for posters and programmes to add to a colourful exhibition showcasing past air shows.

The museum is asking members of the public to dig out their old memorabilia to be exhibited in time for the show on August 19 this year.

This week Retro looks at the collection of nostalgic programmes dating back to the first show in 1928, which are due to feature in the exhibition.

Pictured is a scene from June 8, 1965, when the Evening Telegraph reported a crowd of 4,000 watched a demonstration of crazy flying by a Tiger Moth under the control of James Baring, a member of the Tiger club. The show was described as “a mixture of old fashioned flying circus and a pre-war Hendon Air Pageant”.

In July 1963 a Tiger Moth piloted by Mr L Benjamin, a member of the Redhill (Surrey) Tiger Club, hurtled down out of control to crash on the airfield during his aerobatic display, leaving him with facial injuries.

That year the Evening Telegraph reported that attendance for the show was much lower than expected. Chairman Mr J G Humphrey said the show had been poorly supported and he was greatly disappointed. Skydivers and parachutists thrilled the crowds which did attend, however.

Ben Brown, current secretary of the museum, said it is run by a 30-strong team of volunteers and, as entry is free, it relies on donations.

He said: “The museum is looking to celebrate air shows at Sywell over the years with a special exhibition and, as such, is appealing to readers for any old Sywell posters, programmes or similar which you may have in the attic.

“There are probably 70 to 80 years worth of posters and programmes out there. People find them when they have cleared their attics and sometimes people see them in jumble sales and pay their 20p for them and bring them in. We are very lucky to get such a lot of support.

“Even if they are from the 1980s, if people have any old programmes please let us have them, even if they don’t want to part with it we can always scan them.”

The exhibition will be in the Paul Morgan Hall, which opened last year, to showcase the history of the air show.

Mr Brown added: “In addition the museum is always interested in artefacts, loaned or donated, military and aviation books, unbuilt model kits and old mannequins.”

The museum will be holding a grand opening of the new American and Luftwaffe halls on Saturday, April 7, to mark the start of its season. Members of the public are invited to attend between 10.30am and 4.30pm. Military vehicles and re-enactors will be present and a Second World War fighter plane will also be doing a flypast and landing. Entry is free.

Group visit bookings are now also being taken and interested parties are requested to get in touch.

Anyone with any programmes or posters they would be willing to donate or loan to the museum is asked to contact Mr Brown to arrange collection on 07968 061708 or to email