Amberswood Common

The early history of Tyldesley Model Flying Club is, in areas, a little hazy. The best we can ascertain for certain is that in 1966 a group of like-minded individuals used to gather at evenings and the weekends on the fields off Mort Lane, Tyldesley, to fly their basic stick and tissue models, guided loosely by means of Radio Control, purchased at some price from local emporium Roland Scott’s model shop in Bolton.

By the turn of the decade this small group had grown considerably and was far more organised. The radio equipment too was much more sophisticated and as a result the models became bigger and more complex. The group had at some time over the previous year begun to refer to themselves as the Tyldesley Model Flying Club and by the mid 1970’s, thanks in no small way to some notorious television exposure on Look North showing the clubs large Lancaster Bomber failing to take off and running into the back of founding member Roy Lever’s van, Tyldesley Model Flying Club was a local household name. It had however become a little nomadic relocating from Tyldesley to Amberswood Common, near Wigan and then again to a small field, ‘Farmer John’s’, in Glazebury.

TMFC Lancaster and real one Halifax Bomber Concord

At this period the club was well known for its large model projects such as its Halifax and Lancaster Bombers (the latter being the largest model in the world at the time), the first (and quite big) radio controlled Concorde and its large display team. The support of local events, more television coverage and a reasonable domination of the popular Woodvale Rally model display at Southport (including the explosive displays) served to raise the clubs profile even further and by 1980 the Tyldesley Model Flying Club was a prominent attendee at model shows all over the country. The display team had developed into a force majeure with twin engine Mosquito’s, a revision of the Lancaster Bomber and a slot which often saw 30+ models airborne at any one time.

Barnes Wallis in club tie Bomber Command Cert

During its development and largely due to its support of their various charity’s, the club secured the patronisation of key aviation figures Sir Barnes Neville Wallis CBE FRS RDI FRAeS, Group Captain Geoffrey Leonard Cheshire VC OM DSO & Two Bars DFC and Group Captain Sir Douglas Robert Steuart Bader CBE DSO & Bar DFC & Bar FRAeS DL. The club is also proud to be listed as a founder member of the Bomber Command Museum at RAF Hendon. There are not many model flying clubs who can claim associations such as these

Back on the flying field however, objections from locals saw the club move flying sites once again. Firstly to rough ground behind the BICC factory in Leigh and then to a temporary site in Salford before a longer tenure was secured in the fields behind Aspull Civic Hall near Wigan once again. This had the effect of breaking up the display team and it was largely wound down. Technological developments too meant that models that had previously had to be built as club projects could now be achieved by individuals though the ever popular Lancaster remained a popular static display model at war related events throughout its lifesan. Some members of the club however began to properly develop the skills they had learnt in firing the mock bombing displays by turning their attention to organising firework displays as club fundraisers, eventually developing a partnership with Phoenix Fireworks and a move into proper professional firework displays.

The club matured over this time and took the first steps towards the organisation we are today. We affiliated to the British Model Flying Association, adopted a Constitution, developed our club flying test and flew happily for 9 years at Aspull before planning consent was withdrawn forcing another move. This time after a long search, the club moved back to a site near its roots in Tyldesley. Turf Nest Farm on Astley Moss was to be a home we would enjoy for over 26 years.

This stability afforded the club the luxury of improved facilities, national competition successes, securement of 12 National modelling records (many still stand), development of our structured training scheme and a transition into the organisation we are today. The flying standard of our pilots is high and many again travel the country representing the club and various sponsors at model flying displays and competitions.

In our 50th year (2017), a change in business direction for our landlord brings a further move for the club. This time just a quarter of a mile down the road. Still near Tyldesley, still with great facilities and still (we feel) the best model flying club in the North West of England.

This is a time of learning for us once again, but it was important to us that when we moved we sought a site which again brought improvement for the club and we believe we have done that. The sun is on our backs, we can fly all day every day, membership is up and the club remains healthy. Come and see.

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