JOHN STEVENS 1936-2020
Typical of aeromodellers of his age, John began in the hobby with free flight, progressed into control line and then – in the era of RCS reed gear – into radio control.
He took advantage of Plessey sponsorship to graduate with an engineering degree, then moved to Air Link Trainers in Aylesbury in the ‘60s working on flight simulators, at a time when the technology utilised a camera ‘driven’ around model scenarios, with the mocked-up cockpit mounted on hydraulic jacks.
He always maintained a wide interest in all aspects of model flying, and while living in Aylesbury would enter both free flight and radio control events at the annual Nationals events – often finishing with a very respectable mid-field position in R/C aerobatics as he was a very proficient pilot. In these days he was single and it is fair to say that model flying totally dominated his life. Later, work took him to Westland Helicopters in Yeovil, which is where he married the wonderfully supportive Pam and raised his sons – while enjoying the benefits of both working on an airfield and living in an area where the topography is well suited to slope soaring.
Always extremely proud of his Cornish ancestry, it was inevitable that after a highly successful career he would retire to St Ives, the town of his birth – which is where he sadly died on 1 August after that most cruel illness of dementia took him from us.
Not only was John an active modeller in every respect, he also believed that you only got out of life what you put into it. No surprise then that in his time he was either Secretary and/or Chairman of Redifon Air Link Trainers Club, the Aylesbury & District Club, the Westland & Yeovil District Club and the Redruth Club – as well as serving as Secretary of the South Midland Area for several years and being BMFA Area delegate for the South Western Area. The number of modellers who have benefitted from his tuition and enthusiasm must run into the hundreds.
An extremely intelligent individual, John was also very sociable – and could always be ‘persuaded’ to join in a song when the occasion demanded, especially if there was a pint to hand! His passing marks the end of an era for his like were the backbone of the hobby, and we are all the poorer for it. Our deepest sympathies to his wife Pam who looked after him so magnificently in his final years, his sons Mark and Paul plus his brother Brian.