History: Chocks Away! – Press Release

Chocks Away; Full throttle take- off from May 1st 2022 for Gainford & Winston Church Website with historic Spitfire (beneath bridge) feature


The newly created Teesdale community website will launch on May 1st at 1200hrs.  Content will include fascinating online features galore; the first of which will be a specially commissioned piece on the legendary 1988 Spitfire flight beneath Winston Bridge by Ray Hanna .

In this first feature Spitfire flight commentary and anecdotes from the extraordinary skilful flight are related by the daughter of the pilot, Sarah Hanna, who tells the tale to stunning contemporary drone footage and archive material. The historic 1988 flight still remains a part of Winston Bridge folklore and is celebrated by a bronze model of a Spitfire.

Tom Deakin the online editor comments:”This offers a visually stunning insight into the historic Spitfire flight and having Sarah Hanna to explain her fathers nerves of steel provides real excitement and local pride. Flying at a mere twelve feet above the Tees pilot Ray approached the 110ft bridge span at 250 mph; no fear here then!

Daughter Sarah’s comment is that having led the Red Arrows for a never to be repeated four years from 1966 her father was a consummate professional on all his flights which included ten years commercial flying with Cathay Pacific, the Hong Kong based flag carrier airline. To further fuel his enthusiasm for flying he purchased a rare 1943 Mark Nine (IX) Spitfire, unusual amongst such aircraft in that it actually flew on active wartime service.

There will be an online Spitfire related quiz to accompany the online piece.

To complement the Spitfire footage and feature there are articles on the history of the 1763 bridge and an 1840 engraving of Winston Church Hill from below the bridge; the church at that time without its familiar spire which was only added in 1847.

“The runway for the website launch now seems well and truly clear for further local online features of historic and current interest” said ‘Wing Co’ Paula when asked about future website plans…… ENDS

Image:  Watercolour painting of Ray Hanna flying his Spitfire under Winston Bridge

The commissioned feature can be viewed in High Definition here  by the press.

For Further Press Details:

Email our History Lead Mark Samuelson

Written by Mark Samuelson

Mark was fascinated by history from an early age; he still is. After a 1978 University B.A. in American History before working for The History Channel, after which he completed an M.A. in The History of the English Country House at Leicester University in 2011. Amongst a busy schedule of eclectic activities he now makes artisan cheese in Little Newsham.

April 23, 2022

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