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A BUSHEY student has chosen the country’s oldest aviation museum to do his week’s Work Experience placement.

Matthew Gosden, 14, a Year 10 pupil at Bushey Meads School, was welcomed to the de Havilland Aircraft Museum at Salisbury Hall, London Colney last week.

Museum curator Alistair Hodgson, who mentored Matthew, said: “I’m really pleased to welcome Matthew as the first of this year’s Work Experience students.

“Working with the Museum’s historic aircraft and engines is an excellent introduction to basic aerospace technology for these young people, and I hope that it will inspire them to become part of the next generation of engineers.”

For Matthew, who lives in Watford, the museum was a rather obvious choice.

“At school were could either arrange our own place to do Work Experience, or accept one offered by the school,” he said.

“Because I have already been to the museum several times and went up for a flight with my father in a light aircraft on my tenth birthday I decided to ask the de Havilland Museum. To my delight they said ‘yes’, come and join us.”

The new link with the volunteer-run museum, which opened in 1958, has been welcomed by Bushey Meads School, with a spokeswoman saying: “We didn’t know that the museum would accept year 10 work experience students so we were very pleased to learn that it did.”

She added: “Very few places will accept students under 16, especially the more unusual ones such as the de Havilland Aircraft Museum so that is even more reason why we were so pleased, and we will put it on the list for other students who will be choosing their own placements.”

The museum has a large collection of classic de Havilland designed aircraft both on display and being restored, including more examples of the DH Mosquito twin-engine all-wood multi-role aircraft from the Second World War with the first prototype the star of the museum.

During his week at the museum Matthew learned about the aviation heritage of the Hatfield-based aircraft designer and builder from pre-First World War biplanes through military types up to jet airliners.

“I have an interest in aviation and I am thinking about possibly joining the RAF and become a pilot.”

Matthew’s trend-setting decision is being mirrored by two more students. On Monday this week the museum welcomed its second work experience student proved distance is no problem, coming from a school in Kingston on Thames, while in a few weeks’ time another student, this time coming from Ringwood, Hampshire, will become the third to spend a week at the museum.

“Being able to offer work experience placements at the museum is something we have been working on for some time and we are looking forward to welcoming more students who want to get first-hand experience of the work of restoring some of Britain’s and the world’s most iconic civil and military aircraft designed and built by de Havilland at its Hatfield factory,” said Mr Hodgson.


Matthew Gosden 1

DAY ONE: Matthew Gosden, right, at the de Havilland Aircraft museum with his father David, left, and museum curator Alistair Hodgson (DHAM)

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WELCOME: de Havilland Aircraft Museum curator Alistair Hodgson, left, with Work Experience student Matthew Gosden (DHAM)