Volunteers from Aerospace Bristol – the new home of the last Concorde ever to fly - have been honoured with the highest award for UK volunteer groups: The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
As “the MBE for volunteer groups”, the illustrious Award was created in 2002 to celebrate the anniversary of the Queen’s coronation. It sets the national benchmark for excellence in volunteering and recognises groups whose outstanding work has significantly benefited their local community.
The dedicated team of 150 Aerospace Bristol volunteers has made an incredible contribution of more than £1m worth of their time, hard work and expertise. Their work will go on display when Aerospace Bristol opens in late summer, as part of an exhibition that tells a fascinating story of more than a century of remarkable aviation history. Volunteer projects include:
Adapting a mock-up of an Airbus A320 flight deck for use as a static flight simulator, which will allow Aerospace Bristol visitors to try their hand at piloting the aircraft in a simulated flight
Restoring the front section of a Bristol Britannia prototype that was forced to land on the mud flats of the River Severn during a 1954 test flight. Volunteers have spent more than 2 years working on the aircraft section, including electrical and lighting upgrades.
Preparing a Skylark 12 rocket and restoring Guided Weapons
Restoring and conserving a Sea Harrier jet, which was spectacularly airlifted to Aerospace Bristol by RAF Chinook in March 2017 and will be displayed alongside its Bristol Pegasus engine
The volunteers will formally receive the prestigious Award in the form of a certificate signed by The Queen and a commemorative crystal.
One member of the volunteer team, former Concorde Chief Engineer John Britton, will also have the honour of representing his colleagues at a royal garden party. Mr Britton said “Every member of our volunteer team is hugely proud to have been a part of this wonderful group and absolutely thrilled to have received royal recognition for our work. And, of course, while our work is very much a team effort, it is a huge personal privilege to represent my fellow volunteers at Buckingham Palace.”
Chairman of Aerospace Bristol, Iain Gray CBE, added: “This truly is an incredible achievement and I couldn’t be more proud of our fantastic team of volunteers. I would like to sincerely thank everyone who has so generously given their time, knowledge, expertise and enthusiasm to Aerospace Bristol. They have helped to create a nationally-significant new museum that will inspire the next generation of engineers and I am delighted to congratulate our hard working volunteers for this well-deserved recognition of their outstanding work.”
Aerospace Bristol is set to take off in the late summer. With the last Concorde ever to fly as its stunning centrepiece, the new museum will take visitors on a fascinating journey through time and tell an inspirational story of ingenious design, engineering innovation and remarkable social history. From the earliest days of flight, when Boxkite biplanes flew over Brunel’s Clifton Suspension Bridge, the exhibition travels through two world wars, exploring the vital role of aircraft in these conflicts, through the drama and technological advances of the space race and on to the modern day, where visitors will discover the latest technologies of today’s aerospace industry.
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