AN outpouring of tributes have been made to a gliding club that packed up and left its home today for the last time.

In a convoy of vehicles, members of Bicester Gliding Club left their site at former RAF Bicester after 16 years of operating at the grounds.

Its lease was terminated by its new landlord, Bicester Motion - which also runs Bicester Heritage.

People in the town are 'sorry' to see it go and say it is a 'shame' that young people will no longer be taught how to fly gliders and powered planes by the club.

Bicester resident, Sue Cuthbertson, said she will miss seeing the gliders in the sky soaring over her home with her husband.

Oxford Mail:

She said: "We are very sorry to see the gliding club go. We will miss seeing them come over our garden in Glory Farm for many summers when we have watched them, as we were having a cup of tea.

"We have both been up in one of them and really enjoyed the experience."

Diane Cheesman, who lives in the town, said: "We will so miss watching these graceful planes overhead. They are part of what makes Bicester."

Another resident, Kevin Crawford, said: "It's been a pleasure sitting in our garden watching gliders and planes and towing them up over the years. Such a shame it's going to stop and a bit worrying what will happen on the airfield now they are going."

ALSO READ: Gliding Club's concerns over Bicester Heritage masterplan

The group decided not to take up an offer to continue activities at the airfield, as its operations do not fit with Bicester Motion’s vision.

As part of Bicester Motion’s plan to create an automotive resort, it has formed the Bicester Aerodrome Company to operate the airfield starting from today.

This will oversee aviation operations, aiming to encourage a more diverse aviation culture and activity.

Oxford Mail:

But fond memories will remain amongst Bicester residents who participated in gliding activities at the site off Skimmingdish Lane over the years.

Kerry Burgess remembers the club hosting Scout and Cub events allowing boys to learn the history and basics of flying.

She said: "My boys did a Scout gliding camp some years ago going up in the gliders. I have since done four Cub Camps at the airfield. All Cubs attending attained their Air Activities badge and learnt some of the airfield history.

"Sadly they were too young to go up in a glider, but that didn't lessen their enjoyment of the weekend."

ALSO READ: 'It saddens me that Bicester gliding club is leaving'

The club is even recognised internationally by pilots and gliders who would compete in its annual gliding contest.

Christine Boyer, from Oxford, said: "When I was a member of the Gliding Club at RAF Laarbruch in Germany, one of the highlights of the club year was sending pilots to the competition at RAF Bicester.

Oxford Mail:

"Laarbruch is now a regional airport and, sadly, RAF Bicester will be assigned to history."

Members are dispersing to other gliding clubs nearby to continue the hobby as the Bicester group looks for another site to use.