Amy Johnson CBE was born on 01 July 1903 and attended the Boulevard Municipal Secondary School followed by Sheffield University, from which graduated with a BS degree in Economics. Whilst working as a secretary in London, Amy took up flying as a hobby and gained a pilot's "A" Licence on 6 July 1929 at the London Aeroplane Club. In the same year, she became the first British woman to obtain a ground engineer's "C" licence. With financial help from her father, Amy purchased a second hand Gipsy Moth aeroplane which she called "Jason", after her father's business trade mark.
Amy achieved worldwide recognition when, in 1930, she became the first woman pilot to fly solo from England to Australia, taking off from Croydon on 5 May and landing in Darwin on 24 May, after flying 11,000 miles. She was awarded a CBE for this achievement.
In July 1931, Amy and her co-pilot Jack Humphreys became the first pilots to fly from London to Moscow in one day, completing the 1,760 mile journey in approximately 21 hours. From there, they continued across Siberia and on to Tokyo, setting a record time for flying from Britain to Japan. In July 1932, Amy set a solo record for the flight from London to Cape Town, South Africa. In the same year, she married Scottish pilot Jim Mollison, who, during a flight together, proposed to her only eight hours after they met.
The Mollisons flew in record time from Britain to India in 1934 as part of the Britain to Australia MacRobertson Air Race, but they were forced to retire from the race at Allahabad because of engine trouble. In May 1936, Amy made her last record-breaking flight, regaining her Britain to South Africa record. In the same year, she divorced Mollison and soon after, reverted to her maiden name.
In 1940, during the Second World War, Amy joined the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA), whose job was to transport Royal Air Force aircraft around the country, and she rose to First Officer. On 5 January 1941, while flying for the ATA from Blackpool to RAF Kidlington near Oxford, Amy went off course in adverse weather conditions and bailed out as her aircraft crashed into the Thames Estuary. The crew of the HMS Haslemere spotted Amy's parachute coming down and saw her alive in the water. The commander of the ship dived into the water to rescue Amy, but he died in the attempt. Amy also died and her body was never recovered. She was the first member of the ATA to die in service.
In 1958, Amy's father donated a collection of Amy Johnson souvenirs to Sewerby Hall near Bridlington. The hall now houses a room dedicated to Amy in its museum. There is a statue of Amy in front of the Prospect Shopping Centre in Hull and in addition, there is a bust of Amy that stood in the entrance hall of Kingston High School in Pickering Road. It is now in the care of Hull City Council. The Old Kingstonians' Association's memorabilia collection includes many photographs of Amy.
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Winifred Mary Johnson (known as Mary) was born on 7 November 1924, and attended Boulevard Municipal Secondary School. She became a PE teacher and a cricketer (a right arm fast bowler), playing for England Women, Lancashire Women, North Women and Yorkshire Women. She made her Test debut in the Adelaide during the 1949 match between Australia Women and England Women, and went on to play in a total of ten Test matches, her last being in 1954 against New Zealand at the Oval.
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Alan Plater CBE FRSL was born on 15 April 1935 and passed away in a London hospice from cancer, in June 2010. He attended Kingston High School in the late 1940s and early 1950s, eventually becoming a School Prefect. He trained as an architect but only practised in the profession briefly, leaving to become a full time writer. Alan stayed in the north of England for many years after he became famous as a writer, and lived in Hull. He was a Hull City supporter.
Alan wrote scripts for many television series, including Z-Cars (1962–65), Softly, Softly (1966–69) and Softly, Softly: Task Force (1969–76). His many other credits include The Stars Look Down (1975), Oh No, It's Selwyn Froggitt!, the musical Close the Coalhouse Door, The Beiderbecke Trilogy (1985–1988), and an adaptation of J.B. Priestley's The Good Companions (1980) for Yorkshire Television. He also contributed to the BBC series Dalziel and Pascoe, and adapted Chris Mullin's novel A Very British Coup (1988) for television.
Alan was President of the Writers' Guild of Great Britain from September 1991 until April 1995. He received honorary degrees from the University of Hull and Northumbria University, and in the December 2004 New Year's Honours List, he was created a Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to drama.
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