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A Trip Down Memory Lane

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life it’s sometimes too easy to miss an opportunity for a good old-fashioned chat and reminisce. Quite by chance, we struck up a conversation with Diane and Alan Coulstock, who we think may well be the longest serving members of BA Clubs.

We’ve been fascinated by what we learnt and we thought it would be interesting to write an article featuring some of their many happy memories of life in the airline industry, and as members of BA Clubs.

Both started their working lives at a young age – Diane was just 16 when she first signed on with BEA and worked for Revenue in the Finance Department at BEAline House in Ruislip, where her duties included the manual checking of every ticket issued by the airline – Diane still recalls the 16 digit reference numbers and filing them all in strict numerical order, 3,000 to a box; a far cry from today’s digital ticketing.

Whilst the work might not have been terribly interesting, the social life certainly was. Most days a group would gather in the canteen to play cards at lunch and this was when Diane learnt to whist and a number of other games; cards would become a lifelong passion the couple have shared ever since.

Alan was a keen and talented football player – he was scouted whilst with London Schoolboys, and offered terms by QPR which he declined due to National Service where he played for the RAF Regiment in Germany.

Airline matches were sometimes a rather physical encounter, especially when the engineers were involved, whilst matches against flight crew were generally played with more finesse. Not ever backing down from a physical encounter, Alan was known as Punchy Coulstock for reasons that would get him red carded these days! However, Diane followed the team as a loyal supporter, modestly averting her gaze as they got changed in the back of the coach on away games.

Both have fond memories of the many social events in the calendar – the photo above shows them both at a 1955 Christmas dinner dance held at Derry and Toms in Knightsbridge.

Diane and Alan were married in 1960 and honeymooned in Mallorca – quite an adventure back in those days – and they have returned frequently ever since. A year ago they celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary with family members making the trip back from New Zealand for a big celebration.

Diane and Alan Coulstock

They have always been keen Club members, and as the airline has evolved (they both still claim it was BEA that took over BOAC – others may differ!) so social life moved on to the Trident Club near the Polish War Memorial and then on to the Concorde Club.

Their love of Bridge has helped keep them in close contact with many colleagues, even after their move to Devon, and they still play regularly in online games, as well as holidaying with Bridge Section members.

This conversation has prompted us to seek out other opportunities to capture some memories and share them around, and we’re discussing similar features with a number of other long-serving members. If you’d like to share some memories, please do get in touch at membership@ba.com and we’ll arrange a convenient time for a friendly chat. There is even a rumour going around that John Scott has used the lockdown to go through his copious records of Club activities over many years and reproduce some choice anecdotes – we look forward to the one featuring Garry Court…