Over the weekend of the 7th and 8th August 2021 the project was hosted by Aces High Aviation Gallery at their Wendover HQ in order to officially launch the partnership between the two organisations. Aces High have pledged to provide donations through sales of their products, provide exclusive artwork that is only available to our supporters and sponsor our inaugural Black Tie Gala and Charity Auction by providing a display of their products, a high value raffle and a one-off art work which will only be available on the night to our gala guests.
The partnership was launched on the weekend and Hawker Typhoon veteran Flying Officer Bernard Gardiner was VIP guest for the weekend. Bernard and his grandson Matt were wined and dined by Colin, Craig and Pauline from the gallery over the three days that they were over on the mainland, whilst also signing art work and memorabilia that our supporters and gallery customers had brought along.
Saturday saw a number of project supporters arrive at the gallery having applied for complimentary tickets for the event. They were treated to the first class hospitality that Aces High is known for, with nibbles, champagne, beer and juices as they browsed the gallery and got time to speak to Bernard who was on top form recounting many of his war time stories. One of his favourite topics was explaining how the Hurricane and Typhoon were far nicer to fly than the Spitfire which he got to fly last year courtesy of the project and Aerial Collective at Duxford. Not only could our supporters purchase products from the gallery at a 20% discount, but they had the opportunity to own an exclusive event print limited to 100 copies by one of their great artists Richard Taylor. Bernard was more than happy to sign these, as he said the print reminded him of one of many of his combat sorties over Europe in the Typhoon.
The Warbird Coffee Company who are also one of the project partners provided their fantastic TIFFY Tea and launched a new product, which pays homage to the heart of the Typhoon. Their newly released SABRE coffee was an instant hit, providing a smooth coffee that came with a similar punch to the 2200hp of the engine!
Sunday saw the gallery open its doors to its customers. Bernard was there for the morning, before setting off for his return journey to Jersey, and it proved to be very busy for him and the gallery. The customers had the opportunity to purchase the event art work and get it signed by Bernard. What was really nice to see was the age range of people who came to say hello, from young children to distinguished adults.
The weekend was extremely enjoyable, and proved to be a great success all round. Colin from Aces High stated that it was nice to be able to open the gallery doors to the public for the first time in over 18 months, and to do so with the project and Bernard there was a real bonus.
The project director, and the deputy project director and some of the project management team were on hand over the weekend to engage with the guests, and answer questions about the project, of which there were plenty. The team from the project were delighted to be able to speak to our supporters and the customers from the gallery over the two days. With the main topics of conversation being the new look supporter packages, the status of the restoration and future plans as the rebuild continues to make strong progress, which has really accelerated over the last year.
We have to say thank you to Aces High and Warbird Coffee for the support and long term partnerships we now have with them. This is the first planned event for our supporters and we are looking forward to announcing further exclusive events in the future.