Lifetime achievement awards for The Helicopter Museum founder

Elfan Ap Rees (left) with representatives from award sponsor Lockheed Martin in the USA and the judg

Elfan Ap Rees (left) with representatives from award sponsor Lockheed Martin in the USA and the judging committee. - Credit: Archant

An aviation historian and instrumental supporter of The Helicopter Museum in Weston has won two lifetime achievement awards.

Elfan Ap Rees won the first Aviation Heritage UK (AHUK) lifetime prize for more than 40 years to mark his significant support to the sector.

And his work in writing about the industry landed him a gong at the Aerospace Media Awards Dinner in France on the eve of the recent Paris Air Show.

Mr Ap Rees' impact on the aviation scene in Weston is most obvious with The Helicopter Museum,

He founded the world's largest helicopter museum and has acted as chairman of the trustees since 1980.

The AHUK award recognised him for sharing his many years of experience with other museums at home and abroad and his devotion to recording and collecting aviation history.

His work within the helicopter scene has seen him travel the globe for events and shows.

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Mr Ap Rees' interest in helicopeters stretches back to the 1960s and this year marks the 50th anniversary since he acquired his first full-size model.

Over the next 10 years, with the help of volunteers he built up a helicopter collection, created a charity in 1980 and launched the museum.

Mr Ap Rees began writing as a freelancer about the aviation industry in the 1960s.

In 1977 he launched Helicopter International, the first of three publications he has created over the years. He remains involved with them all and edits them on a regular basis.

Mr Ap Rees said both awards 'mean a lot in different ways'.

He added: "To be recognised by your international peers in the aerospace journalism world is indeed an honour as there are so many good writers out there.

"However the AHUK Award came as a total surprise.

"So much so that I was speechless - not something I'm normally noted for.

"It was very gratifying "

Mr Ap Rees was North Somerset Council's deputy leader up until May's elections and sits on Locking Parish Council.