Belfast Telegraph

Screening of Amelia Earhart's flying visit

By Donna Deeney

The 80th anniversary of Amelia Earhart’s transatlantic flight is being marked with the debut screening of newly-discovered film footage of the pioneering aviator.

For the first time ever, enthusiasts are being given the chance to view lost footage of the noted American pilot who secured her place in Londonderry’s history books when she touched down at Gallagher's Pasture — and become the first woman to successfully fly solo across the Atlantic.

The amazing footage was taken by Grenville Mackie, a member of the prominent Mackie family in Northern Ireland, known for their ownership of James Mackie and Sons.

Permission has been given by the Denis Mackie Estate for footage of Amelia at the Gallagher family house and in the pasture beside her beloved red plane Bessie to be shown in Derry.

Presenting it, Earhart expert Colin Cobb said: “It shows Amelia waving out the window from inside Gallagher's family home which is where she spent the night after landing on their field to the bemusement of Mr Gallagher and his grazing sheep.”

\[Micheal McCready\]”It was taken by Grenville Mackie who was a keen aviator and who, on hearing that Amelia had touched down in Derry and made history, jumped in his own plane and flew from Belfast to Derry.

“The film also shows the arrival of the people of Derry who came to see this glamourous American pilot and her red plane for themselves.

“Now that the existence of this footage is known there is a great demand to see it.

“After it has been screened in Derry we are travelling to Washington with it to show it at the Earhart Conference which has been organised by Tighar, the group responsible for the current search for Amelia Earhart and her plane .”

Along with the exclusive screening of the footage, the celebration event at the Tower Hotel will commemorate Amelia's life and achievements, including her untimely disappearance over the Pacific in 1937.

Mr Cobb will give share his extensive knowledge gained over many years which he said stemmed from her mysterious disappearance.

“I first became intrigued with Amelia Earhart after learning about the end of her life and how she literally vanished without a trace and has never been seen since,” he said.

“From that I worked backwards and once I read about her transatlantic crossing I knew that that was her single greatest achievement.”

The screening of the footage and talk will take place at the Tower Hotel tonight at 7pm. Admission is free.

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