04.06.19 Past Master Group Capt Marcus Wills

Coachmakers’ scholarship winners help celebrate 70 years of flying


Two of our recent Sir Geoffrey de Havilland Flying Scholarship winners, Holly Palmer Davison (2016) and Angus Noakes (2017), were on hand at Cambridge Flying Group last month to help Liveryman Sir Michael Marshall celebrate an amazing 70 years of flying.

Michael Marshall with Holly Palmer Davison and Angus Noakes

Michael Marshall with Holly Palmer Davison and Angus Noakes

Sir Michael first flew solo from Cambridge Airport in a de Havilland Tiger Moth on 30th March 1949 and gained his pilot’s licence soon afterwards. On 30th March 2019 at the same Cambridge Airport, the home of Marshall Aerospace and of the Cambridge Flying Group (CFG), it was time once again to take a Tiger Moth into the air for an exhilarating celebration of those 70 years of continuous flying. Some superb air-to-air photography provided for a special record of the day with historic Cambridge in the background making for a timeless capture of those 70 years.

On his return to terra firma Sir Michael was welcomed by a large party of friends and family and was presented with a beautiful picture of the two CFG Tiger Moths in close formation over East Anglia – the presentation made by the renowned aviation artist Gerald Coulson. A few short speeches provided formality, but this was primarily an occasion for meeting old friends and enjoying such a wonderful achievement. Sir Michael concluded: “It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience and with a combination of the warm welcome, the flight itself, the lovely print of the two Tigers, and the excellent sandwiches and cakes: it was a very special day for me.”

Sir Michael is an active sponsor of flying scholarships for young people both in his capacity as a Liveryman of the Coachmakers and also by his keen support of The Air League, which provides more than 50 flying scholarships every year and through which the Livery also sponsors two further awards – the Victor Gauntlett and the Captain Eric “Winkle” Brown Scholarships.

Sir Michael was keen to encourage the recent scholarship winners, who themselves have entered their first solo in their log books and who feel inspired and grateful for the opportunity to learn to fly. Their achievement would not have been possible at such a young age without the Coachmakers’ De Havilland Scholarship, completed with Cambridge Flying Group, and both CFG and the Coachmakers are grateful to Sir Michael and his family for their encouragement in getting young people flying and also for keeping Tiger Moths flying at Cambridge.