Magnificent men put both feet forward to save WWI flying machine

A “knees-up” has been organised to support a group of magnificent men and their flying machine.

The charity BBQ and vintage ball at Bellfield in Portobello on Saturday 7 March 2020, will raise funds for the Aviation Preservation Society Scotland (APSS) whose members have spent 20 years building a replica Sopwith 1½ Strutter aircraft.

The Sopwith was a First World War biplane used for combat and reconnaissance and two squadrons were based at East Fortune near North Berwick to protect the east coast, Edinburgh, and Leith and Rosyth dockyards from attack.

Nigel Crossland of the Aviation Preservation Society Scotland beside the near-complete Sopwith 1½ Strutter

Pensioners who make up the APSS were commissioned in 2000 by National Museums Scotland to build the aircraft, which is now ready to fly. The Sopwith had been housed rent-free for the last 15 years at the National Museum of Flight but now a new home has to be found and funds sourced to get the plane air bound.

Proceeds from the Knees-Up will go to help APSS members keep their dream alive amid fears that if they are unsuccessful the Sopwith will have to be sold or may end up being based in England.

The day kicks off with a family Spring BBQ from 2-5pm with a host of musical acts providing entertainment, including Brass Blast, Shunpike Social Club and the Phoenix Choir. DJ Dynamite will play tunes in the bar while local Spanish restaurant Malvarosa will be cooking up a storm with its famous paella. New Portobello vegan outlet Go Go Beets is also taking part and there will be traditional BBQ fare and a cake stall.

A Vintage Ball where guest are invited to dress to impress gets the evening underway at 7pm and for those who want to put their best foot forward there will be a swing dance class from 7-7.30pm.

Music will be provided by The Loveboat Three (sultry post war swing) and the Auld Reekie Stompers (hot New Orleans trad with velvet vocals) and staff from the Skylark bar will keep guests refreshed throughout the day and night.

Under construction

Organiser Jean West said: “The Aviation Preservation Society Scotland have spent the last twenty years building a stunning replica of a Sopwith Strutter, the same fighter plane that protected Edinburgh and the Lothians from Zeppelin attack during the First World War.

“Thousands of hours and huge dedication have gone into building the only flying Strutter in Scotland. But the guys have become homeless and unless we can save the day, this plane is destined to be sold to a museum down south.”

Tickets are still available for both the afternoon and evening events which is being hosted by Oi Musica and The Big Beach Busk.

To book and for more information CLICK HERE