A Spitfire special year for local company!

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ARBROATH-based company Squadron Prints is well known around the world for its aviation profile prints and aviation gifts.

However, most people will not realise that this weekend at the RAF Leuchars Airshow it will be the 35th anniversary of the very first print going on sale to the general public.

Early in 1977, Alan Carlaw and Dugald Cameron, then aviation enthusiasts had a chat over a coffee while en-route to the annual RAF Review at RAF Marham. Dugald produced some artwork which immediately caught Alan’s interest and Squadron Prints was born.

The aircrew loved it and at the 1977 airshow Alan and Dugald thought they would see how the public would take to the product. It was an instant success and now 35 years later, with over 2,000 different prints, the company is going from strength to strength.

Thirty-five years is a milestone in any company history but 2012 has been a very special year for the current owners, Gill Howie and Berry Vissers.

Gill explained: “It has been a whirlwind of a year for us. We have been to so many lovely places and met so many great people but the highlights have included attending Windsor Castle for Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Review, meeting the wonderful Lorraine Kelly OBE, seeing Sir Chris Hoy being presented with one of our prints and personally presenting him with a crystal etched block after his Typhoon flight at RAF Leuchars last month.

“Perhaps the best feeling of all this year was finding our very own Arbroath Spitfire pilot – that was like winning the lottery! I was so thrilled and very emotional.”

During their anniversary weekend Berry and Gill will be manning their stall at the RAF Leuchars Airshow tomorrow (Saturday) and in the evening they will host a small dinner for a gathering of friends and family.

Sunday will see them both attending as guests at the Spitfire Sunday Service in the Signal Tower Museum and they will watch the Spitfire display with huge pride alongside company founder Alan Carlaw and Gill’s 81-year-old mum, Mrs Betty Howie!