The Chief Flying Instructor at Lincolnshire Gliding Club, based at Strubby Airfield, has received a top national award for services to gliding.
Richard ‘Dick’ Skerry, who has been the Chief Flying Instructor at the club since 2001, received the British Gliding Association Diploma Award for Services to Gliding at the recent BGA Annual Conference at Nottingham earlier this month.
The award was presented by Grant Shapps MP, chairman of the General Aviation All-Party Parliamentary Group.
Richard served as the chairman of the Lincolnshire Gliding Club for a number of years, from 1996 onwards.
He is also the longest continuously-serving member of the club, having been a member since January 1983 when he spotted a poster for the club in a local library.
Within a week, Richard found himself on a freezing Strubby Airfield being winched-launched in a Bocian glider: an event which, in his own words, changed his life and financial wellbeing forever. He was hooked and took out full membership.
As a Norfolk native, Richard developed an early interest in aviation watching aircraft operating from RAFs Marham and West Raynham, and USAF Sculthorpe.
Joining the Army on leaving school, he married Christine, and later moved to join Lincolnshire Police.
Lincolnshire Gliding Club routinely flies three days a week, and Richard has been the regular weekend Duty Instructor, on both days, for over 10 years as well as turning out regularly to support the weekday operation.
He even maintained this routine whilst working in the week as a Staff Instructor at Shennington; a clear indication of his enthusiasm, energy and dedication to gliding and the club, as well as the unstinting support he receives from his very understanding wife!
Were that not enough, Richard also organises and leads all club expeditions to various other clubs, as well managing all Strubby-based soaring and flying weeks.
Richard’s enthusiasm and effort is well noted by senior instructors within the gliding movement, who cite his willingness to support others, even at the expense to his own flying as an example to all.
A Lincolnshire Gliding Club spokesman said: “LGC is a small club, which necessarily places a heavy workload on the more experienced members.
“A stalwart and mainstay of the club, and its longest continuous member, Richard has eagerly shouldered the many responsibilities that have come his way without hesitation, working continuously and tirelessly to ensure the club’s continued operation.
“Richard has engendered a remarkable level of enthusiasm amongst club members that has ensured it has thrived despite the many issues faced by all clubs.
“His perspective can best be summed up by a 2002 entry in the club’s newsletter, in which he described himself as a ‘dyed in the wool Strubby man’, and he continued that he would be ‘in gliding until he couldn’t stand or couldn’t see, or both!’
“LGC will be forever in his debt, for his enthusiasm and tireless determination to maintain gliding in the east of Lincolnshire.
“As a result, it is clear that Richard’s long and determined support for the gliding movement is very well deserving of the lasting recognition that award of a BGA Diploma has brought.”