A veteran glider pilot who died when he crashed into a school playing field near Cheltenham was named on Monday as great-grandad Kenneth Lloyd.

Mr Lloyd was a member of the Cotswold Gliding Club at Aston Down, near Stroud, for more than 50 years and today club chairman, David Roberts, has released the following statement about Ken who was a much loved member of the club.

Gliding has lost one its elder statesmen. Ken Lloyd was one of, if not the oldest of active glider pilots in the UK. Gliding is a sport in which its participants range in age from 14 (earliest first solo age) to their 90s.

Ken was born in May 1929 and died on 26th August 2020 when his glider crashed in a field near Cheltenham. The accident is being investigated by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch of the Department for Transport.

Ken leaves a large family including four children and their spouses, 10 grandchildren and several great grandchildren. Ken’s wife Christine died many years ago of cancer.

He also leaves behind a close friend, Elizabeth, a retired farmer.

For many years he lived in Hucclecote, Gloucester but moved many years ago to Randwick near Stroud.

Ken started his working life as an engineer with Mobil Oil, but later on in the early1960s he established a new business in Stroud with his business partner John Holland (d July 1994). They owned and managed the successful engineering company, Severn Instruments, making valves. They both retired in 1989 when they sold the company to a local firm.

For a 91 year-old Ken was supremely fit, maintaining his health by swimming almost every day of the year in his outdoor pool, until a few years ago, when he slackened off the winter sessions.

Outside his family, to which he was devoted, Ken was an avid sailplane pilot. He (and John his business partner) joined the Cotswold Gliding Club some 50 plus years ago and rapidly made progress. He and John soon bought their own single seat sailplane, and then in 1988 they acquired a new high-performance two-seat sailplane, an ASH 25 type, with a 25 metre wing span, made by the German company Alexander Schleicher Gmbh. Ken flew this for thousands of hours over the last 32 years.

He flew great distances - often up to 500 km in a day - in the UK as well as once shipping it all the way to Australia in 2005 to fly the season there.

Subsequently he went to northern Victoria every southern hemisphere summer to fly in a sailplane in which he owned a share there. A few months ago he said his trip last year would probably be his last as he had “done it all” before.

Ken was generous, often offering other members of the gliding club the second seat in his sailplane to give them the experience of what flying a very high performance sailplane was like. The smiles on their faces afterwards told the whole story.

Ken did a stint as treasurer and then chairman of the Cotswold Gliding Club in the 1980s and was remembered for his effective stewardship, particularly his unwillingness to spend club funds on anything he thought unnecessary !

Ken died tragically doing what he loved. He was a dear, greatly valued and much loved friend to many in the community, not least his many friends in gliding. His kind demeanour and apparent diffident style belied an often determined stand on things he believed in.

“Farewell Ken on your final thermal; don’t look down or you might see you’re missing a good day’s flying”.

David Roberts

Chairman, Cotswold Gliding Club