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October 2016 update by Chairman, Ray Burrows

Saturday 17th September started off like any other Saturday but it turned out to be quite a special day! Around 2.00pm, the hangar door opened and in walked our Patron, Harv Smyth with some of his family – totally unexpected but what a lovely surprise.


Wedding Surprise


An even bigger surprise was the appearance of newly married Committee member Stephen Hegarty and his bride Kirsty, both of whom were quickly introduced to everyone present – we even managed to get Harv to do his first official act for the Society and say a few words! I don’t quite know how we can better that for his next appearance.


Meeting at Stormont


As some of you will know, the papers latched on once again to our not being able to open for EHOD (European Heritage Open Days). I can honestly say we were hoping to have a positive response from OFMDFM this year but alas it didn’t transpire and consequently hundreds of cars had to be turned away over the weekend.


As a direct consequence of the position in which we presently find ourselves, I as Chairman and Committee member Stephen Riley met with the Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, at his Stormont office on Monday 19th September. The meeting, which lasted the best part of an hour, was frank and friendly.


We were not expecting to hear a definite ‘yes’ to any of our questions and we didn’t get any, but both of us felt we had been listened to and the DFM appeared to be genuine and interested in finding a way forward. Time will tell as we will soon be putting in our requests for 2017.


BBC TV Series airs starring Fergusion Flyer Replica


The culmination of months of hard work making the Ferguson replica came to a fitting conclusion on BBC1 on Monday evening, 19th September, when we saw member William McMinn take to the air at Bellarena and prove that the machine could fly. The programme has generated much comment, all of it positive and congratulatory and it hasn’t done the profile of the Society any harm either.


The BBC have since officially donated the aircraft to the Society, a very magnanimous gesture for which we are truly grateful. When you view the Ferguson (1911 / 20mph) beside the F-4 Phantom( 1960 / 1200mph), it does bring home the incredible leap in technology that has occurred in just 50 years!


Society now No.1 on Trip Advisor


It is through events like the building of the Ferguson that the Society is getting much better known but we also owe a tremendous vote of thanks to Ernie and his tour guides, because... we are now No.1 on Trip Advisor for Things To Do in the Lisburn area . I had hoped we could make it for Christmas but it looks like Christmas has come early (September 19th AGAIN); well done to everyone who has supported and reviewed us, let’s see if we can maintain the No.1 spot.