The sky’s the limit

Date Posted: 04/11/2017

Laura Sexton speaks to David Peace from the Tamworth Aviation Group and Orchard Close Residents Association to find out about his experience of being a group organiser, juggling two groups.

Tell me about the demographic of your group?

We’ve got about 40 members now in the Tamworth Aviation Group. It started about 40 years ago, by local members of the Royal Observer Corps. That was volunteer organisation for the royal air force which was actually closed down about 20 years ago but we still meet and we share an interest in aviation and four of the original ROC members are still involved in running it. Me and my wife also run a group called the Orchard Close Residents Association and we often work together between the two groups to make sure we have enough for each trip to fill the coaches. The Orchard Close Residents Association was formed about 30 years ago.

What kind of trips do you tend to organise for the Tamworth Aviation Group?

We arrange visits to places of interest which for us, include aircraft museums, and air fields and air shows and behind the scenes tours when we can at venues. For instance, we’ve been to the Air Museum in Hendon and that might be of interest to other GTOs because by prior arrangement we managed to get some funding from our local county council, and I don’t know whether other groups know about this but local authorities often have funds and we were lucky to be able to get some funding from the Local Community Fund. It covered the cost of the coach hire making it an affordable day out for some of our pensioners.

We do a trip to the pantomime each year too we like to support the local theatre which for us is Litchfield Garrick Theatre. 

How many trips do you tend to take per year?

We probably run about half a dozen trips each year between the two groups. We maintain close links between the two groups so that we can manage to offer visits out.

David's group

What kind of trips do you do with the Orchard Close Residents Association group?

We did Hendon, where both groups came and we’ve also visited the Fleet Air Arm Museum in Yeovilton. We recently ran a visit, jointly, to Nottingham, a return visit by popular demand. We also did a trip on the Nottingham River Boat, The Trent Lady, and that was a repeat trip. We did it a couple years ago and I can recommend that. It’s a three-hour cruise with a three-course buffet meal which was excellent. 

What trips do you have planned next?

Well I was reading in Group Leisure & Travel that Bristol are opening a new revamped Aerospace Bristol with a Concorde and that’s something we’d like to look at as we could combine it with a visit on the SS Great Britain so you’d get two iconic pieces of transport in one day!

Is there anywhere you’ve been on a personal trip that you’d like to take your group?

Prague! The beauty of it is it’s a compact city with lots of beautiful buildings and museums and it’s all easily accessible to all. There’s castles and river trips and again with our aviation group, they’ve got a stunning aviation museum and few miles from Prague, so we could perhaps look at a long weekend as it’s easy to get to. Berlin too! We went to the Christmas markets there a few years ago and it was nice to walk along with the snow coming down under the Christmas lights. 

Any tour operators or coach operators you’d recommend?

These days we use Solus Coaches of Tamworth which we recommend because they are so friendly and helpful. 

Daish’s Holidays I’d certainly recommend too. If you do a group trip, go to Daish’s. The Fleet Air Arm Museum at Yeovilton, is an excellent day out for a group because there’s lots to see and has group discounts.

David's group

Any funny anecdotes from your experience?

Some years ago we did a five day trip to Paris, again linked with the city and Paris air show. The coach driver, was very friendly but he couldn’t speak French, so instead he adopted this fake French accent but speaking English. And we were all laughing because this chap was doing his best but it was a complete farce!

If money wasn’t involved, where would be your dream destination?

My wife and I celebrated our golden wedding last year and to celebrate we went to New Zealand, for a few weeks and it’s a trip of a lifetime. The people are so friendly, it’s impossible to even put into words the experience. It’s a wonderful country with beautiful scenery, too much to do, and we’d love to go back again one day!

What would you say is the most rewarding part of being a group organiser?

Making new friends.

We’ve been very lucky that fortune smiled upon us and people come back and enjoy it and say ‘can we go back again?’. That’s the only reward we ask for! My wife Pauline is very much involved too with running it - it’s a team effort and that’s a reward as well.

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