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Roy takes to the skies to fulfil 60-year ambition

By mmanning  |  Posted: January 16, 2014

Roy Sims from Mere in the cockpit of his glider.

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A PENSIONER from Mere has achieved a souring ambition by flying solo again after 60 years.

Roy Sims piloted a glider at the Bath, Wiltshire and North Dorset Gliding Club at Kingston Deverill last Saturday.

The 78-year-old first flew solo in 1953 at RAF Hawkinge, near Folkestone in Kent.

Parish councillor Roy has been a member of his local gliding club for four years. He has flown many times with an instructor but conditions were never quite right for him to fly alone. The clam, sunny weather on Saturday was just about perfect. Launch, flight and landing were all executed brilliantly, and Roy returned to the ground with a beaming smile.

Recalling his original solo flight, Roy said: " It was the year of the coronation, Hillary's first ascent of Everest, and Gordon Richards won his one and only Derby. The latter two were knighted for their efforts - I received a kiss and a cuddle from my Mum when I arrived home that night."

This time Roy was congratulated by his club colleagues, and given the opportunity to treat everyone to a drink after flying finished for the day.

Roy moved to Mere in 2001 and has devoted much of his energy to the town where he is a councillor and a civilian police volunteer. He serves on the local carnival committee and is active in the neighbourhood watch scheme.

Roy's next ambition is to fly a single seater. His original flight was in a wood and canvas glider typical of the day. Last week's solo was in a modern fibre-glass glider capable of long cross-country flights.

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