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THE GLIDING HERITAGE CENTRE - ABOUT

About Us

Chris Wills, the founder of the Vintage Glider Club in 1973, sadly died on the 4th May 2011.

Chris Wills

Starting in the early 2000s Chris had become quite a regular weekend visitor to Lasham to talk to and enjoy the company of the VGC group, and also to see his beloved Steinadler glider that he had lent us flying.

On his death, we were amazed to find hed left us a bequest of 100,000 to build a hangar to house Lasham vintage gliders plus the Steinadler.

Son of the 1952 World Champion, Philip Wills, Chris was absolutely passionate about vintage gliders and their preservation. He strongly felt that if at all possible they should be housed rigged in a hangar and fly so everyone could see them in their natural element, rather than just being static exhibits.

On the news of Chris's kind bequest; after a good deal of discussion, a grander vision emerged, namely a Gliding Heritage Centre which could be visited by members of the public.

Thr Chris Wills Memorial Hangar

The eventual cost of building the hangar was approximately 127,000, so more funds were needed. Infact, quite a bit more than 27k was raised eventually and the balance was held in reserve to assist subsequent projects.

Phase 1 of the overall GHC project was building the hangar and of course that is now complete. It was officially opened on the 4th August 2013 during the 41st International Vintage Glider Club rally that was held at Lasham that year.

Phase 2: The museum extension to the hangar

As we were unabled to secure lottery funding for Phase 2, which was to be a museum; we decided to regroup and Phase 2 became the construction of a second hangar to help house our ever increasing collection of gliders.

Hangar 2 as we call it, is very close to completion, and is due to have its official opening on the 25th August 2018. We then will have a period of cosolidation where we will work to maximise the visitor experience and operational value derived from both hangars before turning our attention to Phase 3.

Phase 3 will be the construction of a dedicated workshop to allow us to keep the flying aircraft in the collection airworthy, plus allow for the restoration and conservation of the rest of the fleet.

A further use for this workshop will be for the teaching of the skills required to restore and repair wooden based gliders, as these skills are becoming increasingly scarce. Our plans include a viewing area in the workshop to allow the public to see the good work that we are undertaking.

The Gliding Heritage Centre - Preserving the history of gliding in Great Britain.

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