On October 10th , a beautiful sunny day, some relatives, friends and
colleagues gathered at the Brooklands Museum to remember and pay
tribute to John Farley, test pilot and personality extraordinaire.
The Napier Room was soon alive with excited talk as guests greeted each other and recognised old friends, possibly not seen for some years, before reminiscing about their times with John. On a large screen a video scrapbook of photographs of John from childhood to ‘elder statesman’ of aeronautics and aviation played in the background.
Once the gathering had settled into their seats a welcome and introduction was given by Chris Roberts who then spoke of the young John, his apprenticeship at RAE Farnborough and his early career.
John Heron recounted John’s RAF career in the UK and Germany. John’s
time at the Empire Test Pilots’ School and his research flying in Aero
Flight at RAE Bedford was covered by Dick Poole whilst his Hawker years
and Harrier involvement were remembered by Colin Wilson.
Dave Southwood covered John’s work post BAe, his teaching and his role inspiring the next of generation of aeronautical engineers and aviators.
Finally Chris Roberts returned to summarise John’s career and
Adele, John’s widow, closed the formal part of the event.
A buffet tea with plenty of sandwiches and cakes was then enjoyed as guests circulated and talked with friends and colleagues.
Of course John’s death was sad but this commemorative gathering had
been a happy event where those present could celebrate the
extraordinary life of such a likeable, much loved and talented man.
Thanks are due to Chris Roberts for organising the event and to the Brooklands Museum for the venue and refreshments.