Retford Model Flying Club started in the mid 60s with a group of flying at the old Gamston airfield. Ten flyers meet at the flying site with no formality or fees, just a group enjoying our sport. In 1967-68 the club was formed and continued to fly at Gamston with the goodwill of the land owner and airfield operator
In the 1980s the club had grown to a number where a further site would be feasible. Barrie King approached the farmer at Bevercotes and agreed a rent for about 4 acres which we were to share with the motorcycle club who ran scramble events on the higher part of the 50 acre site.
Flying would be restricted on scramble meeting days as they used our flying area as a car park which on wet days left our runway requiring ruts to be repaired. Not a great situation! Flying continued at Gamston with the club having what looked like two sets of members. Those who preferred to fly off grass or tarmac
In the late 80s Mr. Rhodes the farmer decided to retire and offered RMFC the chance to buy the 4 acres they used for flying. 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, will I get my cash back if I leave and what if a number leave where will the money come from to repay members. 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.
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
Its time to move
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. As well as not being able to fly for 14 weekends a year due to AMC activities our flying area was driven over leaving ruts and damage to the grass. The final straw was when the rent was raised to £1000 a year. To survive as a flying club RMFC required a new field.
In 1999 Trevor Marriott our 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. The club chairman 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 flying site
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.
The club moved on to the site in 2001 and began fly at the field that was owned by the club.
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