I am deeply sorry to have to report that Laurie Peake, a long-standing member of Fleet & District Model Aero Club, passed away recently. Laurie retired at the end of 2018, and he was anticipating a more relaxed lifestyle, including playing squash and golf, but then along came COVID and hampered his plans. Even so, as restrictions relaxed this year, he was able to start looking forward and planning again.

Laurie was a Senior Engineer with British Airways and his modelling skills were of the highest order. He was a meticulous and determined individual, and he carried these characteristics into all walks of his life. He was passionate about his work, his sports (he excelled in football, badminton, and squash), his modelling (both building and flying) and above all his family. He passed that passion for sport on to his eldest son Bruce, who became an Under 17 National Badminton Champion. He had an exceptional eye for detail and ‘just about good enough’ was never good enough for Laurie. I assembled with great care an ExtremeFlight Extra a few years ago and was very happy with it. Sometime later Laurie cast an eye over it and observed that one pin hinge in one aileron was not perfectly vertical; the discrepancy was slight, and I had never noticed it myself but every time I look at that model now, I do notice it! Laurie was the kind of person you would wish to have maintained the 747 you are about to board!

I returned to model flying in 1993 and Laurie’s flying had a big impact on me in terms of inspiring what and how I wanted to fly. Laurie was a skilled pilot and excelled at precision aerobatics, culminating in winning a GBRCAA competition in 1985 at Doncaster. He was friends with many of the top aerobatic pilots of the day, including Hanno Prettner. Laurie was also a gifted heli pilot, in the days when flying helis was far more challenging than it is now.

His contribution to the Fleet club was huge, acting as Membership Secretary over many years. He also was the inspiration behind some of our most successful club competitions, notably Picojet and Twinjet racing, which caused mayhem and amusement in equal amounts.

Laurie had a genuinely great and sharp sense of humour, and one of his favourite retirement hobbies had become winding up scam telephone callers. He once managed to divert a scammer to a discussion about his career as an aircraft engineer (he squeezed this into many of his conversations!) while pretending to be Chinese. It sounds like a great way to get through lockdown!

Laurie was someone I liked, respected, and admired. He leaves a wife, two sons and two grandsons, and I cannot end more appropriately than with words from his wife, Teresa. “Thank you Lol for being a wonderful, funny, kind, generous husband, father and grandfather. We are all going to miss you so much.” Rest in peace Laurie.

Julian Thacker

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