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Fundraiser focus after storm damage

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By Nick Dowson
Dumfries and West
Fundraiser focus after storm damage

A CROWDFUNDING campaign has been launched by Dumfries and District Gliding Club after Storm Arwen devastated the hangar used to house its winching and towing vehicles.

The club is seeking £12,000 to rebuild the structure, which fell in the recent storm – crushing a diesel generator, their only source of power.

The club is based at Falgunzeon, east of Dalbeattie, on the shoulder of Long Fell at 600 feet on the exposed shoulder of the hill, so was hit hard by the record wind speeds, although it said it was “fortunate” that its winch and tow cars had escaped unscathed.

It is one of the oldest gliding clubs in the UK, one of only five gliding clubs in Scotland and the only one within the South West of Scotland.

Founded in 1929 by six Dumfries men, the club has been teaching people to fly for many decades.

Alongside this core activity is the mentoring of novices of all ages through teamwork, maintenance of aircraft and vehicles, and the passing on of knowledge. The club also keeps, and maintains to flying status, a fleet of vintage Slingsby Skylark aircraft dating from the 1950s and 60s.

Over the years the club has built various buildings to accommodate the aircraft, provide a clubhouse and a garage/shed for winch and tow vehicles, with most of the work being done by members.

A spokesman said: “We were fortunate that our winch and tow car were not damaged but we lost a very valuable amenity and our only source of power – a diesel generator was crushed by the fallen structure.

“We are a small club with limited resources and are appealing to the community to help us replace this much needed shed. We are setting up a crowdfunder to cover some of the costs.”

“Our target is £12,000 which would allow us to rebuild a stronger replacement structure suitable for the exposed site from which we fly and we would be very grateful for any donation that you may be able to give.”

Treasurer of the club David Neilson added: “Basically the wind went straight in and blew the whole thing over.

“When I tried to get to the site after the storm a few of the roads were blocked and I had to go a different way, there was so much damage.

“We were lucky really, other than a bit of tin on the hangar that got folded out, the hangar and the clubhouse and the aircraft were fine.

“Fortunately the vehicles weren’t damaged apart from a few scratches.

“But if we do not rebuild the winch shed, our only means of launching the gliders, the gear will be out in the weather all winter with all the dangers of deterioration or damage.

“We have had a very good response from the gliding community already.”

Donations can be made via webpage: www.crowdfunder.co.uk/ddgc-shed-replacement

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