It’s a top museum – and that’s the plane truth


AIRCRAFT have a strange fascination for people. Their sleek designs combine high technology and style – and there is always the nagging question when standing close to their vast bulks of ‘how on earth do they ever get off the ground?’

From the first attempts at flight using little more than wood and string to the gigantic military planes big enough to carry other aircraft and tanks, there is something special about them.

Aircraft are simply intriguing.

So, anyone visiting the Newark Air Museum – dubbed “the friendly aviation museum” – can’t help but be drawn in by the machines on show at the former RAF base.

Located next to Newark Showground just off the A46, Newark Air Museum may be a tad off the beaten track but it is a must-see destination for all ages.

Run by volunteers, the non-profit making museum is based on part of the former RAF Winthorpe site.

An array of planes – and a good few helicopters – are displayed either outdoors or in large display sheds.

The range of things to see is impressive but is laid out in such a way that different aspects of air history are offered up in helpful chunks.

There is, for instance, an indoor display showing RAF history in the area, another featuring engines.

You can get up close and personal with most of the aircraft, walking within feet of them or, in the case of the Vulcan bomber, right underneath.

There is clearly a real love and devotion for the subject by the team which runs the museum – and the fact that it attracts visitors from far and wide suggests they are certainly doing something right.

You get the feeling that you are on an old air base when walking around. There is a distinct sense of history.

A new cafe serves up tasty fare after a long day browsing (or a short time in the cold British weather!) and a well-stocked shop offers books and magazines galore on air-related matters, as well as a large assortment of Airfix model kits to let you build your own small version of the planes you will have been inspired by on your visit.

It can be strange to see aircraft which have played a major role in defence in the past standing regimentally on the ground of the museum, but it is also thought-provoking. These glorious machines, well maintained and looked after by the museum, undertook military missions or rescue operations or even carried passengers in some cases. They are true Forces veterans.

It is very much the military theme that is paramount at Newark Air Museum, and quite rightly too given the site’s RAF history.

For instance, you can get a look behind the scenes at how RAF airmen in the Second World War would have lived, the equipment they used and divine something about the characters of those brave men.

The equipment they had back in the day is displayed, ranging from plane cockpit gear to radar equipment and even the clothes they wore.

You can also see ejector seats, gun turrets, photographs, memorabilia – things that make the stories being told that much more real.

The aircraft on show range from the magnificent Vulcan bomber, the MIG-23M Flogger and the Meteor T7 planes to Sioux AH10 and Wessex helicopters and the Taylor Monoplane G-APRT.

There are also early aircraft on display.

You get the chance to explore flight simulators and cockpits. microlights and a radar cabin.

I found the shed full of engines fascinating. This is where art and science come together. Every part of the engine has an engineering purpose but they also look like metal sculptures. One, with its tubes and almost biological look, reminded me of the work of artist H R Giger.

During my last visit, another visitor took it upon himself to play a tune on one of the engines by tapping various bits of it. It was quite melodic. A bit Kraftwerk in a way – but not a recommended use of former military equipment!

Lancaster Corner in Hangar 1 displays World War Two artefacts associated with the famous Lancaster bomber and wartime RAF Winthorpe, which was a training base for 5 Group Bomber Command.

The museum’s 619 Squadron ME846 Lancaster display relates to an aircraft and crew that crashed in June 1944 over northern Belgium.

Displayed above a fuselage section is a Lancaster wing-tip that was recovered near Grantham. There is also a Lancaster rear turret that housed twin 0.5 inch guns.

The air museum really does have so much to see and can take up a full day. What is particularly good is that it is as exciting to visit for children as it is for adults. There is a sense that history is brought to life, which is something that appeals to kids.

The air museum was opened officially back in April 1973 and has developed since then, with the opening of its two massive aircraft display halls a major step forward.

The founding aim of the museum was “the preservation of the country’s aviation heritage and to display a collection of aircraft and exhibits to the local public”.

It has certainly achieved that aim and is well worth visiting for a great day out.

Newark Air Museum calls itself “the friendly aviation museum” and that is very much the case.

The museum is open every day except Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.
Opening hours: March to October 10am-5pm, November to February 10am-4pm.
Admission: Gift Aid donation price – Adult £9.90, Over 65s £8.80, Family (2 adults and 3 children) £26.40, Child £4.95; non-Gift Aid donation price – Adult £9, Over 65s £8,
Child £4.50, Family £24; under fives free, special rates for disabled/students/UB40 holders/serving members of the armed forces, veterans/parties of 15-plus available on application.
Address: Drove Lane, Newark, Nottinghamshire NG24 2NY
Telephone: 01636 707170

‘I love this place – but it’s bonkers!’


Edlington Community Organisation junior citizen officer Toni Matthews, project manager Samantha Sidall and community engagement officer Lynn Brookes.

A GROUP based in the heart of a South Yorkshire community is working hard to offer opportunities for old and young alike.

And the group has been honoured for its efforts, recently walking away with a prestigious prize in a major awards contest.

But Edlington Community Organisation (ECO) is not resting on its laurels and intends to up its offer even further and provide even more for the people who see it as an important part of their lives.

Located at Edlington’s Yorkshire Main Community Centre, on Edlington Lane, ECO runs activities throughout the week for children and adults.

But it also has a food bank and goes out into the community too.

Backed by the area’s MP and councillors, the thriving group’s management team is busy busy busy.

Community engagement officer Lynn Brookes works alongside junior citizen officer Toni Matthews, and centre manager and manager of ECO Sam Siddall.

Yorkshire Main Community Centre.

Chair Tony Wormley and a number of trustees and volunteers also back the group.

The group’s trophy cupboard show how ECO has had a positive impact over the years.

For instance, there are three St Leger Awards given by St Leger Homes this year alone and the group walked away with the Community Group title at BBC Radio Sheffield’s recent Community Championships Awards.

“We didn’t think we were going to get that. We were just happy to be there. We got a standing ovation,” said Lynn, who is a relatively recent addition to ECO having begun work with the group about a year ago.

She said that thanks to ECO the diary of actvities and classes at the centre is now permanently full, with more ideas on the cards.

Community cupboard officer Diane Vicarage makes up food parcels at Edlington Community Organisation’s food bank.

Lynn said: “We do a massive range of things for the community.

“We now do events for all ages throughout the week.

“It’s just growing and growing.

“Anything we can try we will have a go at.”

Indeed, there are many options for local people to get involved with, ranging from gymnastics to the choir to burlesque.

“This morning we had a toddler group and a quiz this afternoon,” said Lynn.

“We just do everything we can.”

Recent big events have included a Halloween disco and a Christmas market which took over the car park at the back of the Yorkshire Main Community Centre.

The choir – known as AChoired Taste – has proved a hit and members now go out to homes to entertain people as well as undertaking other performances.

Edlington Community Organisation workers, volunteers and service users.

Lynn said that the youth club has gone down well and was set up as a way of offering early intervention with younger members before they were tempted off the straight and narrow and a way of getting older ones off the street where trouble could be the other option.

There are plans for the youth club to offer boxing, bike building and graffiti sessions.

The police have supported the youth club – which even included local PCSOs having arm wrestling competitions against the kids. Who won was not revealed!

In fact, PCSOs come in most days to meet members of the public and Lynn believed it was having a positive effect on the community.

A lot of groups utilise the hall at the community centre and there are free classes through organisations like Creative Directions which is run by Doncaster-based arts body darts.

ECO runs an after-school club every day of the week and is also working with Doncaster theatre Cast to create an upcoming musical.

There are even bus trips out for Edlington people, recent examples being to Bakewell Market and The Deep in Hull.

ECO’s independent food bank is provided with supplies from Tesco and Greggs, as well as domestic donations.

It is not based on people being referred to it by the authorities as is the case with other food banks, but is based on word of mouth and local need.

Lynn said that ECO staff or volunteers will “have a chat” with people in need of support and try to help them.

The food bank is run by six or seven volunteers.

There is also a Community Cupboard, with food supplied by Foodshare and enabling 75 members the opportunity to pay £4 per week to get £20-30 of shopping.

Volunteer and food cupboard trustee Cath Siddall checks stock in the food cupboard.

ECO staff also aim to feed all the groups using the centre, such as the kids’ clubs.

“Every group gets something,” said Lynn.

She praised the help that ECO gets from people in the community.

“We can’t do what we do without our volunteers,” she said.

There are four paid staff but 60 eager helpers who turn up to keep the whole thing moving.

Lynn said that ECO is a success because it is open to everyone in the community. People can just pop in and have a drink and a chat, whereas others sign up to take part in activities.

“People are made to feel welcome and feel comfortable,” said Lynn.

“We get so many different people walking in through the day.

“We have a lot of the same people coming in but we have a lot of different people too.

“The plan is to keep doing it. It’s obviously wanted and needed.

“It’s different every day.

“We just want to keep going.

“I absolutely love this place – but it’s bonkers. We do have a habit of playing tricks on each other but it’s just a laugh.”

Edlington Community Association workers and volunteers have a meeting at Yorkshire Main Community Centre.

Lynn said that the centre has proved a “lifeline” for some people, such as a woman who felt isolated after her husband died but found a new purpose courtesy of ECO.

The group has been fundraising for a van to allow more activities to take place. People have been using their cars up to now, as well as rather small van, but with the increase in demand a bigger vehicle is badly needed.

A money boost from Sport England to renovate the building has also been a welcome shot in the arm.

Sam Siddall has been working with ECO at the centre since the late 1990s.

She has been involved for 25 years, starting when she was at school, and even missed her A-levels to join the group.

She said that ECO is busier than ever and that the people of Edlington welcome having it at their heart.

“We do more than we have ever done for the last 20 years and it’s all about passionate people,” said Sam.

“Edlington felt it did not have a voice so Edlington Community Organisation was set up with support from Doncaster Council.

“The people now have got somewhere crazy to go.

“It gives people a sense of belonging as well because everyone is from the village.

“Edlington is constantly in the papers for bad stuff but this shows the good things. It’s rewarding.

“It’s a pride thing.

“Around 22,000 people used the facility last year.”

Sam said that many people have asked to be involved in helping ECO and they have been given a “chore”.

Sam said: “The skills they have are recognised.

“We just trust people.”

Sam said that her hope is for ECO’s offering at the community centre to get even bigger even though the greater workload could be a challenge.

Edlington Community Association’s junior citizens officer Toni Matthews.

“We have run out of space to do everything we want to do,” she said.

“People come up with suggestions and then we try to do it.

“For instance, we want to start a club for dementia sufferers and their carers.

“If we have an idea we try it, give it a go. Some things will work and others will not.”

The “backbone” of ECO’s funding is from the Liz and Terry Bramall Foundation which provides grants for charitable organisations.

Other money comes from such sources as Children in Need, Stronger Safer Communities, the Community Investment Fund and the NHS.

Volunteer and trustee Mo Tennison said: “I’m passionate about giving to the community.

“People come in for a chat and they get involved.

“It gives them the opportunity to get involved.

“You have to give respect to get respect.”

Mo said that Don Valley MP Caroline Flint, councillors and members of Doncaster Council staff have all been very supportive of ECO’s work because they see how important it has become for the people of Edlington.

“The community has a voice,” said Mo.

“People can just come in for a chat if they want to. We don’t look down on people.

“This is the hub of the community.”

Three decades of success for arts group


The Point, Doncaster.

AN arts group is celebrating its 30th birthday this year with a packed calendar of activities.

darts, based at The Point on South Parade in Doncaster, has had three decades of success providing artistic activities to people right across the town.

Now, darts – Doncaster Community Arts – aims to remain the important hub for artists that is has become.

The group opened The Point in an attractive Georgian town house back in May 1998 as its base after starting life in 1990 in a back room at Bentley Library.

darts moved to Bentley West End Youth Centre before receiving funding to convert 16 and 17 South Parade to become The Point.

The building not only provides a base for darts staff and various art groups, it is a base for companies which helps it pay its way.

In 2020, to mark the big birthday, The Point will be getting a new look including new signage and wayfinding to ensure visitors have a great visit.

darts will be releasing new films which shine a light on the difference made by the group to lots of different people

And there will be a big party to celebrate the anniversary to which all staff past and present are invited.

darts’ chief executive Duncan Robertshaw said: “This is a huge milestone for us.

“We plan to celebrate all year long, as well as raise the profile of the things we do best.

“Working with the excellent Eleven Design, and in collaboration with our staff, trustees, volunteers and participants, we will be launching a new look early in the new year.

“This is just one of the exciting activities we have in store for 2020.”

Helen Jones, assistant director of darts, said: “We can’t wait to start the celebrations for our 30th birthday by opening Wow! Said the Owl here at The Point.

“This is a nationally significant exhibition, with lots of family-friendly and interactive activities to enjoy. We’re very excited for people to enjoy a visit.”

One regular visitor to The Point is 10-year-old Daisy Watt.
Not only has she won a top award, she has raised thousands of pounds through her art for cancer charities.

She won 2019’s Achievement in the Arts award organised by the Yorkshire Young Achievers Foundation.

Through the sale of her paintings, Daisy has raised almost £50,000 for cancer charities.

She was inspired to use her talent in this way when both her Granny and Grandad were diagnosed with cancer at a similar time.

Daisy has been coming to The Point and getting stuck into creative activities with darts since she was a baby. Art Adventures, led by professional artists for pre-schoolers and their parents or carers, engaged very young children in a range of creative experiences, offering the chance to experiment, play and learn together.

Since then, Daisy and her family have visited pretty much every exhibition in the gallery at The Point and she has been to every single Tuesday Art Club session since it started two years ago.

She says that coming to The Point and working with darts artists has played a big part in developing her artwork.

Daisy said: “It has made me more confident and given me lots of ideas. We don’t do much art at school.”

Assistant director of darts, Helen Jones, who runs the Tuesday Art Club, said: “We are incredibly proud of Daisy and are so pleased to have played a part in the development of such talent.

“It’s fantastic that our creative sessions really do allow children and young people to flourish and grab hold of opportunities that they wouldn’t normally have access to.

“The Point is open to all and the activities that darts artists run here are fully inclusive and accessible. Why not see what we have to offer?”
One woman who has also made good use of The Point over the years is Sharon Constantine.

She believes that attending regular sessions has helped her cope over the years.

Sharon said: “When our family lived in Thorne Road (in Doncaster), my two boys were aged one and three, I used to walk down to The Point for outdoor and indoor play with them. I can’t remember what the sessions were called, but at the time it was a great place for me to go to as I felt a bit isolated as a newish mum and struggling with post-natal depression.

“Fast forward quite a few years, my big two are 22 and 24 now. We move to Misson where eventually I had another son, now 14. I still attend events, mostly now for children with additional needs.

Daisy Watt

“I discovered that (other The Point users) Lucy and Duncan live in the same village as me, and we’ve become firm friends for life. Our youngest children also have a very special bond.

“I am extremely grateful for the lifeline The Point provided for me back then, and for the incredible facilities and events I still attend now.

“Thank you for being there for us, and long may you continue with your success.”

The Point is set to continue its mission to promote the arts in Doncaster throughout its 30th year and beyond, appealing to users of all ages and experiences.

Out tomorrow!

The January edition of the Rotherham Advertiser’s monthly lifestyle magazine Chase is free with tomorrow’s paper.

Don’t miss out on a great read!

Out this Friday!!!

The December issue of Chase magazine is out this Friday, FREE with Rotherham Advertiser.

Packed with features, news and great pics, it will be a great read for all the family.

Don’t miss out!!!

Let’s have none for the road!

By South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership manager JOANNE WEHRLE

HERE at South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership, we can’t actually believe that it’s December. The year has flown by and Christmas Day is just weeks away.

December is a busy time for most people, whether you’re buying presents, sorting out the kids’ school play costumes, managing the extra demand at work or plotting your hectic social calendar.

We’re all dashing around and finding it hard to slow down.

There’s definitely plenty going on at Safer Roads HQ. This week, we launched our annual Christmas Don’t Drink and Drive Campaign. While many people do drink responsibly over the party season (THANK YOU!), sadly some people still take risks and break the law.

We don’t want to be party poopers, but we hope that everyone in Rotherham shares our aim to make our roads as safe as possible. One of the ways we are trying to do that is by raising awareness about the dangers of drink or drug driving.

So why is having a tipple and then getting in your car or on your motorcycle so dangerous?

This is why: there is no safe limit for the amount of alcohol you can have before driving. There is also no way of knowing how long it will take for alcohol to be processed by your body.

Even a small amount of alcohol can affect your reaction times putting you and others at risk.

There is a legal limit to how much alcohol can be in a person’s system before they can drive, but it is impossible to say how many drinks or units it will take to reach it.

And it’s so important to remember that you could still be over the legal limit the following day. An average liver can process approximately one unit of alcohol per hour, starting one hour after drinking has stopped. This means that if someone drinks 12 units, it can take them roughly 13 hours to fully sober up.

So if you’re heading out to a party on a ‘school night’, it’s vitally important that you make sure you’re sober before you get in your car or on your motorcycle the next morning. If you have to, book the morning off work.

Any one of us could be caught out this way and the penalties, as well as the risks, are substantial.

If you are caught you may be banned from driving, have points added on your licence, an unlimited fine, or even imprisonment. This will mean increased insurance costs, potential job loss and even restrictions on travel to other countries.

So our advice, even though it might sound harsh, is to have NONE for the road. If you fancy a drink, please book a taxi, use public transport or get a lift home with a designated driver. It really isn’t worth the risk to you, your family or other road users.

If you decide to walk, just remember to take extra care crossing the road.
So let’s all make a pledge to have NONE for the road this festive season and if we can prevent a collision taking place, avoid any needless pain and suffering.

We must also remember that it’s not just drink driving that could ruin a family’s Christmas. Every day we face risks on the road and it’s so important that we all do as much as possible to look out for each other.

Winter weather itself poses a risk and there are many things we can do to reduce our chances of being involved in a collision.

In icy or snowy weather we advise that you do not travel unless your journey is essential. If you do decide to travel, take extra care and allow more time for your journey

Before setting off, check the news and weather to see if there is anything that may affect your journey. Bear in mind that weather conditions may be different at your destination.

Ensure your vehicle is roadworthy. In particular check that all your lights are working and that your tyres are in good condition.

Before you pull away, ensure that all your windows are clear of ice and snow. Make sure that your windows and mirrors are demisted thoroughly. Remove excess snow and ice from your roof and bonnet which could fall into the path of other road users.

If you are riding a motorbike or bicycle, ensure that your lights and brakes are working correctly, and consider wearing something both bright and reflective so that you can be easily seen.

Be extra vigilant in rainy or snowy weather, or if the road is icy. Always drive at a speed which is appropriate to the road conditions, driving in as high a gear as possible, accelerating and braking very gently. Remember, stopping distances can be up to ten times greater in icy conditions.

Look out for motorcyclists and pedal cyclists who may have to swerve suddenly to avoid ice patches or other obstructions.

It is also recommended that you keep an emergency kit with your vehicle which includes a blanket, warm clothing and waterproof boots, a first aid kit, de-icer, and an ice scraper. A warm drink and some food supplies may also come in useful.

All that is left for us to say is to wish everyone in Rotherham a safe and happy Christmas and to thank all the responsible road users out there. We really do appreciate it.

Celebrating a cello’s birthday

Tickhill Music Society’s ADRIAN HATTRELL reviews a concert by cellist Tessa Seymour given as part of the group’s 2019/20 season

Tessa Seymour and Xiaowen Shang

AT its recent gathering Tickhill Music Society was invited to celebrate an unusual anniversary – the 300th year of a cello, made in Milan in 1720.

To mark the occasion, cellist Tessa Seymour finished her recital with a sarabande by Bach, composed in the same year.

Tessa is an accomplished young cellist, who has moved to London from her native California to further her career, and whose CV includes the premieres of a number of contemporary works.

But to begin at the beginning, Tessa’s concert at Tickhill was more than usually challenging – flooded roads gave her a circuitous journey from the railway station, and her regular accompanist cried off three weeks beforehand. He was replaced by the equally youthful Xiaowen Shang, and it is fair to say that her muscular accompaniment did not always compliment the more delicate playing of the cellist. This was particularly noticeable in the opening Sonata by Debussy, whose angular composition called for more balanced treatment.

The first half was completed by an early work by Shostakovich, in which the partnership between cello and piano was more at ease, and the dialogue between the instruments was more equable.

The programme finished with a Sonata by Brahms, and here the composer was more sympathetic to the cello, which Tessa exploited to the full, bringing out the sonorous tones of her instrument.

One could say that on this occasion art imitated life, with the American cellist and the Chinese pianist not always comfortable with each other, but one cannot fault their dedication and endeavour, which was warmly appreciated by the audience who had also fought the bad weather to attend.