Navy Wings was one of two beneficiary charities at a charity track day at Castle Combe Motor Circuit on Thursday 8 October 2020. The day raised a magnificent £6,350 in total for Navy Wings and the Forever Friends Appeal, Royal United Hospital, Bath.
“We are absolutely delighted to make a donation of £3,850 to Navy Wings” said organiser, Christopher Darwin from Devon. “With air shows and events cancelled due to the pandemic, we know that fundraising has been very difficult for Navy Wings this year and our drivers were pleased to be able to help.”
A former Royal Navy Buccaneer pilot, Christopher has now run six annual charity track days at Castle Combe supporting Navy Wings, raising over £15,000 for the charity. He organises about four events a year at the circuit, about half of which support military charities.
“The whole thing is a 20 year old personality defect!” said Christopher. “I have run 87 track days so far and intend to keep at it until I am demented, decrepit or dead! One driver is a doctor, and he thinks I am good for a few more years, so we should achieve £20,000 for Navy Wings in the end!”
“We are extremely grateful to Christopher” said Navy Wings CEO Jock Alexander. “His enormous personal contribution and the generosity of all those who take part each year has made a real difference in helping to keep our historic naval aircraft flying and in the public eye.”
The 1.85 mile Castle Combe circuit is based on the perimeter track of a former WW2 airfield and the event provides an opportunity for drivers to take their own cars on a national motor circuit and to drive at speed under disciplined conditions, supervised by marshals.
“It is one of the best circuits in the UK for track days” said George O’Connor, a Navy Wings Supporter who drove his Lotus Elise in the event.
“It’s a fun day with a purpose. Everyone really enjoys it – and even this year’s damp start was greeted with enthusiasm testing and enhancing the drivers’ ability! The day is run with exactly the right balance between fun and safety. Many drivers return year after year, and this year there were quite a few new drivers, who were driven round the circuit several times by their mentor before going out on their own. Most of them also took the opportunity of driving the instructor John Laycock around for more detailed tuition. I went with my son, Rowly and we took it in turns to drive. It was a great day for about 50 drivers, all proud to be raising money for two good causes.”
“The technology, the noise and the adrenalin of track days is very similar to air days” continued George “there is something special about old cars and planes – and raising money to ensure our children and grandchildren will enjoy the same sense of excitement and exhilaration when they see our beautiful old naval aeroplanes fly, makes it all the more worthwhile.”