A rare Scion Floatplane built in Kent by Short Brothers – the aviation pioneers – is being restored, thanks to the Rochester Bridge Trust.
The Trust has presented Medway Aircraft Preservation Society’s team of volunteers with a grant of £40,000 to bring the historic aircraft back to its former glory.
The Scion Floatplane G-AEZF, one of only five of Shorts’ 22 Scions with floats, was built in 1933. It saw service in the UK and Sierra Leone before returning to Shorts at Rochester to be converted into a land plane.
In their heyday, the six-passenger Scions flew pleasure trips from Medway to Ramsgate and Southend. The G-AEZF was last seen flying at White Waltham in 1963. The Medway Aircraft Preservation Society discovered remains of the plane at Redhill Aerodrome and brought it back to the county.
Once complete, the Scion Floatplane will be an eye-catching addition to redevelopment plans for Rochester Airport signifying the importance of the airport to Medway and beyond.
Russell Race, Senior Warden for the Rochester Bridge Trust, said: “We are delighted to support the restoration of this historic aircraft which has returned to Kent. Short Brothers and their aircraft are an important part of the county’s heritage. The restored Scion Floatplane will serve as a reminder of the great contribution Shorts made to Kent, and in particular Medway, and the development of our county’s reputation for engineering excellence.”
Malcolm Moulton, Chairman of Medway Aircraft Preservation Society, said: “Our members, who hold the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, are honoured to receive this support. The five-year project will display to the public this one remaining example of the many seaplanes and flying boats built on the River Medway since 1913.”
The Rochester Bridge Trust, founded at the end of the 14th century, is responsible for providing a crossing over the River Medway between Rochester and Strood at no cost to the public. The Trust uses its original endowments to support its current three bridges, as well as local conservation and engineering projects.
Last year, following approval from the Charity Commissioners, the Trust also took responsibility for distributing outstanding funds from the now defunct Medway Heritage Trust. These funds are now part of the Trust’s longstanding community support and grants programme.
1. The Rochester Bridge Trust is a charitable trust that exists to maintain the old and new bridges at Rochester and serve the travelling public. It is the only surviving bridge trust still serving its original purpose, and it has served the people of Kent since 1399. The Trust also supports numerous community and education projects across historic Kent and Medway.
2. The Trust’s assets all derive from endowments of land and money in the 14th and 15th centuries and are carefully managed in order to provide an income to fund bridge maintenance and local charitable grants. The Trust receives no external funding and is regulated by the Charity Commission.
For more information:
The Rochester Bridge Trust
Kent ME1 1QE
Tel: 01634 846706
Fax: 01634 840125