Not all the items Sir John has selected have significant monetary worth. Often, the value lies in reminders of people or incidents in his life, from boyhood, such as the old clock which brings back memories of time spent with his dad in his “musty old wooden garages”.
“It was cheap and utilitarian, but I was fascinated by the life within it, represented by its lusty tick and the back and forth movement of the pendulum,” explains Sir John. “It is ticking away now in our kitchen, somehow a living connection to my happy boyhood and my love of my father.”
Sir John spent a lot of time as a boy building and flying model aircraft. The Radio Queen was one of them and has travelled with him through his whole life. He only flew her once as a free flight model, but it was memorable enough to make it into his list of favoured possessions.
Hear him describe his boyhood adventure with a model aircraft, with a wingspan much longer than him, and what happened when he flew her into a tree.
A taste of history
Through a silver-plated spoon, which is now more than 100 years old, Sir John reveals the connection between his father, a WW1 soldier, and an old passenger liner.
His father had “liberated” the spoon from the hospital ship he was travelling back from war on. His story traces the spoon’s history back to the original New Zealand-based shipping line. Thanks to research by the per stellas team, we now know it was HMHS NZ The Maheno which brought Sergeant Walter Allison home.
Cufflinks with connections
What connects Sir John to a rare Spitfire aircraft, a long-held ambition, his wife, and a pair of cufflinks with a span of 40 years? He paints a vivid picture of what it is like to handle the controls and fly in the cockpit of such a seminal aircraft.