David Charles, Vice Chair
North East Land, Sea and Air Museums
I joined the North East Aircraft Museum in 1979 at the age of 16 as a junior member and was set to work paint-stripping on a Gloster Meteor in the restoration building. After graduating from Manchester University in 1981 I moved to Bristol to work for British Aerospace but still continued to be involved and often travelled back to help out on weekends. My first aircraft recovery with the museum was the English Electric Lightning from Warton airfield near Blackpool in 1988. At this stage I joined the museum management board and took over the role of publicity. Then in 1993 I moved back to the North East and this allowed me to increase by involvement, taking over as Chairman in 1995. As Chairman I oversaw a period of realignment of the aircraft collection, bringing it close to 40 aircraft. Also at this time I oversaw the construction of a 20,000 square foot display hangar. This included raising nearly £30,000 of commercial support. This was followed by a £15,000 extension to the hangar to form what is now the 607 display and street scene.
I moved out of the area in 2000, returning again in 2012. I offered my services as an advisor to the board and attended meetings with Sunderland City Council and set out the museum management strategy. In order to formalise my position I was invited to join the board as Vice Chair in August 2016.