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Special flight pays tribute to co-founder of Mission Aviation Fellowship

by
25 March 2022

Olly Nunn/MAF

The Miles Gemini takes off at Shuttleworth airfield, piloted by Jack Hemmings and the Gemini’s owner, Stu Blanchard

The Miles Gemini takes off at Shuttleworth airfield, piloted by Jack Hemmings and the Gemini’s owner, Stu Blanchard

AN RAF veteran who turned 100 last August, Jack Hemmings, took to the skies last Saturday to mark what would have been the 100th birthday of his co-founder of the Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF), Stuart King. At Shuttleworth airfield, in Bedfordshire, he flew a 1947 Miles Gemini, the same aircraft that he and Mr King flew to Africa in 1948.

In 1947, the pair flew a 30-stage tour of the UK to garner support for MAF, before a 3000-mile flight to Nairobi, where they began a six-month survey of the humanitarian needs of isolated communities in Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia, Rwanda, and the Belgian Congo. In his 1993 account of the survey, Mr King wrote: “In Sudan, there were vast areas where there were no real roads at all, and what tracks existed were impassable for months at a time. There were places where people were out of range of medical help and died for lack of it.” Today, MAF operates 123 aircraft around the world

Mr Hemmings said: “The flight today made me think of Stuart on what would have been his 100th birthday, and it was a suitable time to remember what he achieved in his lifetime. One cannot count the number of people whose lives have been enriched by his services.”

Mr Hemmings is raising money in Stuart King’s memory via JustGiving.

Olly Nunn/MAFJack Hemmings in the hangar at Shuttleworth airfield 

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