We asked Carol Walker to put some words together to explain the history and the reasons behind the presentation of the trophy that bears her father's name. This is her first draft and we didn't want to see it wasted.
My lovely dad, John Paul Walker was like a bouncing ball. To him every moment was for fun, exploration, learning new skills, amusing others, helping the needy and he was exceptionally thirsty for knowledge.
Dad, in his adolescence, craved to participate in every pastime taking place in the neighbourhood. His favourites, second only to teaching himself to be a very skilled Wurlitzer organist/entertainer, were leading a scouts’ group, singing in the Church choir and entering the county table tennis competitions.
After a short while, a yearning for more excitement ate him up and he joined the local ATC which opened the shell of what was to be the love of his life – aviation! Albeit somewhat reluctantly, Dad was sent off to Harwarden in North Wales, as was his brother, to spend two years in the RAF for national service. Whilst fulfilling an administrative role, Dad was ‘over the moon’ (albeit not literally) to be taught to fly a glider! Though only 18 years old on recruiting, he returned to ‘civvy street after two years, rebuking the offer of training for a commission.
The years went by and as he neared his ‘older years’ Dad joined the Fellowship of the Services and before long he had reached the rank of District Chairman. This opened an opportunity to participate in activities of all armed services by assisting those in need and recruiting new members.
I became trapped in the love of aviation and after a few discussions with Dad, I embarked on flying lessons and earned my licence in 2005. During these hectic years, Dad sadly developed a very serious and eminently terminal illness. However, true to chtrio aracter, he struggled through pain and anguish to support me in every possible way, travelling around the country, saying a prayer for me and visiting air shows and becoming friends with lots of my wonderful aviation ‘family members’.
The most proud moment of his life, I believe, was when at Little Gransden accompanying me on the day of a lesson, my tutor suddenly jumped out of the aircraft and told me to fly it solo! Very little could beat that occasion and such memories helped him through his illness.
After he sadly died in 2009 in my grief I decided that I wished to pay tribute to his wonderful life, to his kindness and his love for aviation. As I have attended the Air Racing events over several years, I decided to dedicate a trophy for a race in his memory for the RRR’s first Concours d’Elegance for which there was previously no trophy available. WE WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER DAD’S LOVE FOR AVIATION – AND THE LOVE AND AFFECTION OF ALL INVOLVED FOR HIS MEMORY.
In her spare time, Carol is a harpist in the trio 'Schrodinger's Strings'