Retford Model Flying Club started in the mid 60s with a group flying at the old Gamston airfield nr Retford. Ten flyers were meeting at the flying site with no formality or fees, just a group enjoying their sport of model flying. In 1967-68 RMFC was formed and continued to fly at Gamston with the goodwill of the land owner and airfield operator.
Flying continued at Gamston with the membership increasing to around 50
The club had grown to a number where a further site would be feasible. Barrie King approached a Bevercotes farmer Mr. Rhodes and agreed a rent of £200 4 acres which would be used as a flying site.
In 1986 RMFC had the chance to buy our flying site plus another 46 acres at a very reasonable price as the farmer was retiring. We could have bought the site and had local motorcycle scramble club as tenants.
With no cash in the bank a proposal was put to members for a share option to raise the funds required. The club almost folded due to argument and acrimony, members could not decide on a way forward. The problem was money loaned, and how would loans be repaid if a member left. How the debt would be serviced if the club folded
A number of ideas were put forward as to how to raise the cash for the 50 acre site which RMFC had first refusal. RMFC could have had a field in the middle of the country with no neighbours and no rent to pay but in the end the AMA motorcycle club bought the whole 50 acres and the club ended being tenants of the AMCA
With new landlords came new rules. No flying on 14 weekends in the year due to motorcycle events, restricted usage for flying and a hike in rent.
From 1987 to 1998 everything continued as normal.
Problems were arising with the motorcycle club who were using our flying area as a car park on event days. If the weather was wet the runway would require ruts to be repaired and motorcycle safety equipment to be moved before flying could recommence. . Not a great situation!
Flying continued at Gamston airfield and Bevercotes with the idea resurfacing of buying a field.
.In 1992 another field was identified as a possible site. Members were asked to pledge £250 but as the auction was only a couple of weeks away no meetings were called so members were asked, can you pledge the money. Only 20 members answered the request and duly purchased the site at Laneham and 20 members set up the Trent 20 with some leaving RMFC and again created some bad feeling within the club.
In 1996 a breakaway group started a club called the Retford flyers which again caused a split within the club. But after a year the club had folded with previous members returning to RMFC
In 1997 a further field was identified at East Markham but the same problem arose how to raise funds. At the auction RMFC were not successful due to lack of a cash pot.
The motorcycle club did not really want RMFC as a tenant even though we paid £500 rent and doubled our rent; this actually this was the making of RMFC
In 1999 Trevor Marriott the club chairman with Barrie King and Ian Albans found a further site at North Leverton, again funds were low but this time members were listening to the request of raising the necessary capital. Members were asked to support the committee’s sterling work in find a new flying site. A 5 acre site to the east of North Leverton was the clubs best chance of being in control of its future. Trevor Marriott and Ian Albans a long standing member negotiated a price which although fair was outside the club’s budget.
How do we raise the required cash?
A plan was quickly put into action to bolster club cash enough to buy the field. The club had some cash after raising membership fees but the whole deal hung in the balance. Every member was asked to pay 2 years subs in advance, due to the time scale a meeting with the treasurer was arranged at our Bevercotes site
On a cold Sunday morning the committee waited to see if there would be any response to the request. It started as a trickle and then turned into a mass turnout as nearly every member paid their subs.
Trevor also managed to gain funding form the Retford Lions so now RMFC had the funds to proceed.
Leverton field was purchased in 1999 with the grass being sown when the last crop was harvested. What a disaster, as soon as the field was cultivated and the grass seed sown the rain came, days and days for weeks on end which washed all the top soil away. We had to start again and purchase seed and arrange for the site to be reseeded. The club were grateful to our neighbour Alan Headland who farmed a joining field who prepared the field for sowing the seed.
On the 23rd September 2001 the club moved on to the new flying site at North Leverton and began fly at a field that is owned and run by the club and its members.
Gamston had continue to be a second flying site for members but in 2004 a change of ownership resulted in a notice to cease model flying, this ended a long association with the airfield which started in the 1960s
By 2006 the club had sufficient funds to repay the money given to it by the Rotary but unfortunately they could not accept this offer as they had given the money to help the club. It was decided to donate the money to the RMFC designated charity the Notts & Lincs air ambulance.
Today RMFC continues to provide a flying site for our members to enjoy although a wind turbine farm has been trying to gain planning permission which would cease model flying at our field. Details can be found under the RMFC tab
Thank you to members past and present for their help with indin compiling the history of RMFC
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