More than 100 general aviation pilots raised over £1,000 for Kent’s Martha Trust, over the weekend, at a unique fly-in event. In addition, collection buckets on the site were filled by the many hundreds of visitors who came each day, to not only witness the sight of so many light aircraft making use of the Manston runway, but also the RAF Manston History Museum’s annual re-enactment weekend too. Musical entertainment was provided by the 2433 ATC Thanet Squadron.

Martha Trust is a registered charity that provides residential and respite care for people with profound physical and multiple learning disabilities. They operate state-of-the-art homes in Deal, Kent and Hastings, East Sussex, caring for a total of 38 of young people and adults.

In total, 103 aircraft took part in the fly-in. Steve Hoskins of the Light Aircraft Association, which organised the event, said: “It’s very unusual to have everything from multi-million-pound aircraft right down to microlights, and everything else in between, at events like this. It is totally down to the facilities at Manston being available. Well done to all involved.”

Gary Blake, airport manager at RSP Manston expressed his thanks to all involved: “It was a great pleasure to welcome so many people and pilots to Manston over the weekend and to see the airfield buzzing with life, just as it was designed to be. We would like to congratulate the Light Aircraft Association for such an impeccably organised fly-in, the RAF Manston History Museum for making everyone feel so welcome and the hundreds of people involved in the re-enactment weekend for bringing some of the key aspects of Manston’s illustrious history to life. What with the 2023 Hughes Rally also making use of the site for some of their driver challenges, it really felt like the local community came to Manston over the Bank Holiday weekend!”  

Click below for some fantastic pictures of the weekend by photographer Stuart McGregor: