The copy of GANews arrived in the post this morning. Thank you for sending that. The review is tremendous (Great lives, great skills, Aug. 24 issue) — thank you so much for that. All publicity is so much appreciated and I really enjoyed your aspect on it!
The thing I particularly liked was your plug for Beryl Markham who is a particular fan of mine! (Amazing! You must be telepathic!) Here is a story: Last year at the end of August I receive a phone call from a journalist — “Do you know who Beryl Markham was?” “Yes, of course,” I replied. “Did you know that it is exactly 70 years since she did her flight across the North Atlantic the ‘wrong way?’” “No, I didn’t realize that,” I said. “More importantly,” he went on, “she left from Abingdon Airfield.”
Well here was the Wow factor as Abingdon is our local town! It is in the center of the UK and I never imagined she would leave from anywhere except on the coast. I got out my copy of “West With the Night” and sure enough there it was written as clear as day.
The journalist went on “Would you consider doing a fly-past at Abingdon in her honor and then landing for a reception with the mayor and Air Training Corps Cadets?” “Wow!” I thought again. Abingdon has a wonderful huge runway, but it has always been military and many a time have I looked longingly at it but never imagined I would have the chance to land there.
So on Sept. 4 I did the fly past and landed — a really magic moment. I handed a complimentary copy of my book to the mayor and did a TV interview — later I did a studio interview. Hardly anyone locally had heard of Beryl and I thought it would be a great idea for Abingdon to be really proud of this part of their history. I suggested they put up a statue to Beryl. After the TV interview I received a phone call from a lady who said she was related to Beryl Markham and had a whole lot of her memorabilia. She said “I saw you on TV last night, I really thought I must get in touch.” What fun! You never know where life will lead you! I tried to get her interested in promoting the statue, but I fear that unless I get out there and organize it it won’t happen — well not yet anyway — and I don’t have the time and am fully committed to Flying Scholarships for the Disabled. However, I was just amazed and overjoyed to read your review and most honored to share a review with such a fantastic lady.