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The ‘Caledonian Girls’ mark the naming of the aircraft at London Biggin Hill Airport and the launch of a new era for fund-raising for their two charities. At extreme right is Robin Washington, owner of the Piper Archer, next to him is Alastair Pugh CBE performing the naming ceremony.

The sound of the bagpipes at London Biggin Hill Airport on Monday heralded a revival of the world-famous ‘Caledonian Girls’ of British Caledonian Airways (BCAL) in aid of charitable causes.

A Piper Archer light aircraft in the colours of the former international airline with a strong Scottish identity was named ‘Julie – the Spirit of BCAL’ in memory of former staff member Julie Washington who was based at their Heathrow Transfer desk for many years.  She died of cancer last year and received outstanding treatment and care from the Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice in Farnham.

More than 100 former staff members of the airline joined the occasion, including 10 Caledonian Girls in their original bright tartan uniforms, their first official reunion for 10 years. The group were celebrating the legacy and contribution of their airline and that ethos drives their support for the two charities.

Uniquely, the light aircraft will be used to in the future help raise funds for these two special charities that are close to the BCAL group:

  • The Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice in Farnham. When a cure for cancer is no longer possible, the Hospice helps to manage pain and to improve the quality of life for each patient and their family.  Every day is precious.
  • The Golden Lion Children’s Trust was formed by BCAL staff members in the early 70’s. It has continued to flourish with a voluntary team providing help and support for distressed and disadvantaged children.

Early fund raising in support of the launch occasion this week enabled a cheque for £3800 to be handed over to the Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice and £1500 for the Golden Lion Children’s Trust.

Editorial notes:

  1. The Piper Archer aircraft was funded by Robin Washington, in memory of his late wife Julie.
  1. The aircraft has been engineered by Falcon Flying Services and the BCAL livery was prepared and painted by RAS Completions, both companies based at the airport.
  1. The naming ceremony for ‘Julie – the Spirit of BCAL’ was dedicated by Alastair Pugh CBE, a former Managing Director of BCAL.


Issued by Biggin Hill Airport Ltd –

Media contact is Simon Ames – Head of Communications – M: 07785 745857