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West Norfolk Aviation Society

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Meeting March 2024

Amanda Harrison, latter-day Amy Johnson, was our celebrity guest speaker this month. We say ‘celebrity’ because she has rubbed shoulders with the famous:- sports personalities, politicians, film stars and royalty, the latter being, in her own words, the least self-opinionated and the least pretentious. The opportunity for this privilege resulted from becoming, later in her career, a commercial pilot instructor. 

Amanda Harrison and Techie Steve WNAS

Her fascination for flying began when she was a schoolgirl. Her father and brother were both aero-modellers; the seed was sown; it germinated and, now she has her own full grown 1930s Tiger Moth in which she is re-enacting her hero’s epic journey, some of it already completed. Much of Amanda’s story is common knowledge and references to her achievements are well documented online. Her presentation at our meeting together with the book she has published help fill in the gaps in this incredible saga.

This vivacious but modest 46 year old trod the Mundford Bowls Club boards with confidence, humour and enthusiasm. It seemed, almost, as if she was enjoying the company of the WNAS as much as she does her beloved aeroplane. There was an underlying message in her story that was not just about the thrill of flying her own aeroplane but by how much the sensation was magnified by circumstances leading up to her success. Amanda wears her heart on her sleeve: as a teenager with few academic achievements and, being diagnosed with dyslexia, her peers regarded her as a ‘no-hoper’ destined for a career stacking shelves. Now, she seems to have another quest: to right some of the wrongs our education system has over-looked. She gives up some of her precious spare time to children with learning difficulties; to demonstrate that: ‘where there’s a will there’s a way’. She encourages them into the belief that learning is exciting rather than a chore. In a rather perverse way facing adversity seems to have strengthened her resolve: after undergoing an operation for a double mastectomy, her father dying a few days later and a broken Gypsy Major engine in Beirut her spirits are still high and she is confident that, after she receives air clearance over the war torn Middle East, Australia is only a step away. Our society’s thanks must also go to Techie Steve for discovering this treasure trove. Our chatty chairman, Chris H, addressing the floor, closed the meeting with the pithy afterthought: try not to die before the next instalment.

Nigel Tooth

For more information on the society and future talks, please visit the website:


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