Joyce Girdler married LAC (Leading Aircraftsman) Ted Girdler in Deal Church in 1957. Joyce Girdler and her late husband Ted Girdler a Red Arrows pilot and her family have run a flying club at Manston for 30 years.
Despite 50 years left on the lease, Manston closed on May 15th, the owner has said it is permanently closed. The planes are now flying from Lydd.
The late Ted Girdler was a coal miners son from Deal who flew with the ATC cadets from Manston. Inspired by the aerobatics flown in the Chipmonk at Manston as a boy ATC cadet, he joined the RAF from school as an engineering apprentice at Holton.
Ted married Joyce and he took many years to work his way up via in the ranks becoming a corporal, maintaining aero engines and became a Sergeant Signaller on Shackltons protecting the UK on long coastal patrol flights. Ted became an officer and won 3 prizes on his officer training, including the Flying prize, and he led the passing out parade with the sword of honour. He was moved to the front line 111 squadron where he flew Mach 2 Lighting fighters on QRA scrambling many times with reheat from RAF Wattisham to intercept foreign planes flying over the UK. Ted was an exceptional aerobatic pilot, and served for 3 years as a Red Arrow and flew in the first full Red Arrows display over Deal Pier, the displays continued for many years at the Deal Regatta.
Ted left the RAF after the Red Arrows and moved to Tayside Flying Club for 6 years, then he and Joyce and the family moved to Kent and they have run the Flying Club at Manston for 30 years. The first year 29 people got their Private Pilots License at the Manston flying club and the Wings were presented by top Spitfire Ace Bob Stanford Tuck. In the thirty years so far the Club has trained many many people to fly and and they have become instructors and taught others to fly, many going on to become commercial pilots in the airlines, flying all over the world. The club has trained many RAF cadets who have gone on to join the RAF as front line pilots and over years a number of pilots in the Red Arrows team learned to fly at the Joyce’s families flying club.