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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 June, 2003, 14:35 GMT 15:35 UK
Town celebrates aviator link
Amelia Earhart celebrations
Amelia Earhart

Hundreds of people braved the wind and rain to join a harbour town's anniversary celebration of a historic transatlantic flight.

It is exactly 75 years ago since pioneering woman aviator Amelia Earhart's plane touched down in Burry Port having left Trepassey Bay in Newfoundland nearly 21 hours earlier.

But if the weather had been as bad all those years ago it is doubtful she would have been able land in the Burry Inlet.

Burry Port resident Griff Bevan. who was 13 at the time of the flight, remembers the scenes well.

"Her landing was totally out of the blue - completely unexpected," he said.

Amelia Earhart anniversary
Mayor Clive Howells, Earhart enthusiast Les George and pupils

"But as word got about people came from all over - Swansea, Carmarthen and further - to see her.

"It was a lovely day and there were thousands here.

"I remember the newspaper men coming down from London."

Earhart, pilot Wilbur Stultz and mechanic Louis Gordon were greeted as heroes after their sea plane, the Friendship, was brought into the harbour.

The buoy which their plane was tethered to has been restored and is now on show in the harbour, along with a new plaque and a sign posts giving the distance to Trepassey Bay, New York and London.

Griff Bevan
Griff Bevan was 13 when the plane landed at the harbour

As part of the celebrations a RAF Sea King helicopter performed a fly-past on Wednesday and pupils from local schools released balloons into the air.

A marquee has been erected near the harbour to house five days of events that will climax with a thanksgiving service on Sunday.

Art, music and history competitions have been held for youngsters in all the surrounding schools and former Wales rugby captain and Llanelli player Scott Quinell presented the prizes.

Among those in the crowd was Amelia Davies of Llanelli and her two sisters Eileen Price and Edna Williams.

Mrs Davies was born in Trimsaran three days before the plane touched down and her parents, who could not decide on a name, named her after the pioneer.

The celebrations had been months in the planning and were largely due to Burry Port resident and Earhart enthusiast Les George.

Sea King helicopter
An RAF Sea King Helicopter entertains the crowds

"I'm so grateful to the town council and Carmarthenshire Council for their support for today," he said.

"It's a lovely feeling to see all these people here despite the weather and it has proved there is still a lot of interest in the flight."

Burry Port mayor Clive Howells said: "This could not have been done without Les.

"I am really looking forward to the next five days of celebrations.

"The schools and the whole community has become involve and I want to thank them for their support."

Earhart went on to become one of the pioneers of early flight but disappeared just short of her 40th birthday in 1937, while attempting to circumnavigate the globe.

No trace of her or her plane was ever found.




SEE ALSO:
Aviator's historic flight celebrated
23 Apr 03  |  South West Wales
Harbour revamp gets under way
14 Sep 02  |  Wales
Birds halt 90,000 school repairs
21 May 03  |  South West Wales


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