Norwich pilot sees heaven as his destination
Having time for people, a community spirit and taking opportunities are values that have driven Norwich-born Malcolm Springall. Kevin Gotts reports.
Born in 1949 and after leaving St Thomas Moore School at 15, Malcolm was offered employment with an electrical engineering company in Hellesdon.
"I took on a five-year apprenticeship and just as I finished my time the boss said he was emigrating to Australia. At 20 years old I took over the business and had contracts with many local factories and builders," he recalls.
"In 1976 I thought builders were earning much more than me so I decided to buy building land and started building new houses. I had jumped out of the frying pan into the fire. House building had just gone into recession so and I couldn't sell a thing," he confesses.
Fortunately, a couple of years earlier, Malcolm had obtained a pilot's licence and was intent on building hours towards a commercial licence. One day he was early for an appointment and dropped into Fridays' Garage in Norwich and spoke with owner Graham Dacre. A week later, Malcolm received a call to fly businessman John Wright to a Full Gospel Businessmen's meeting in North Wales.
At a fog-bound Welsh RAF base, Malcolm heard the two passengers John Wright and Colin King praying for a break in the weather so that they could depart. Within 30 minutes the fog had lifted and they flew out safely. Malcolm later learned that after their take-off, the fog returned.
With new-found business flying FGB men around the country, Malcolm attended a meeting in Bristol and became a committed Christian.
Malcolm married wife Moira in 1969 and they have been happily together for 45 years. They had two children, Neal and Elaine, but sadly Neal died eight years ago, aged 28. They have two grand-daughters, Amber and Amy.
In addition to running a flying school at Norwich Airport he was a tug pilot for many years and gliding instructor at Tibenham in Norfolk.
Tragedy struck again five years ago with the onset of cancer which curtailed any flying, with Malcolm expecting he would die. He now rejoices, "Through the power of prayer I am here today, I see Heaven as my destination."
Describing themselves as inter-denominational people, they have been members of Mount Zion, a local church and more recently a house church.
Their hobbies are ballroom dancing, cycling and bowling.
"I am very much a community person and served on parish councils for many years,” said Malcolm. “When a vacancy recently came available in Wroxham, Salhouse, Rackheath and Belaugh for a District Councillor, I was asked if I would stand and was elected. I think I am the sort of person who gets things done," he concludes.
Pictured above are Malcolm and Moira Springall.