Sidney Walter Collins, age 83 passed away unexpectedly but peacefully at Chilliwack General Hospital on August 8, 2006. A long time resident of the Central Fraser Valley, he was the last surviving child of five born to Richard and Mary Anne Collins of New Brompton, Kent, England.
Born in Reading, England on May 31, 1923, Sidney’s first exposure to Canada was as a teenager during his flight training for the Royal Air Force. His distinguished military service with the RAF included assignments with the 207, 427 and 550 Squadrons at bases ranging from Waddington, Bottesford, Spilsby and Waltham in the United Kingdom to overseas duty in Burma. Sid was also present at the Japanese surrender in Hong Kong.
After World War II Sid returned to Canada where he established his second career as an Electrical Inspector with what was then known as the Safety Engineering Services Division of the BC Government Department of Public Works. Aside from work, he continued his love of aviation by joining the Abbotsford Flying Club where Sid was one of the founding members behind the world famous Abbotsford International Airshow.
His dry sense of humour was showcased when under cover of night Sid was responsible for hiring local painter Chuck Dennett to secretly paint the words City Of Abbotsford on a new C-141 Starlifter of the United States Air Force that was making it first flight to the airshow.
Throughout the years he shared his extensive aeronautical knowledge and expertise by teaching meteorology and ground school for new pilots and Air Cadets at the Abbotsford Airport as well as locations throughout the Central Fraser Valley.
Sidney’s most noteworthy civilian flying experience was most likely when he and Andrea flew cross country in a small Cessna 182 from Abbotsford to Halifax and back.
For many years he was on the Board of Stewards for Trinity Memorial United Church in Abbotsford and was instrumental in jump starting the campaign to acquire a new church organ. Sid also frequently taught Sunday school and mentored young people in the Hi-C program.
Survived by his beloved wife Andrea of Chilliwack, BC; and brother-in-law Michael Moss in the United Kingdom; daughter Patti (Jim) Millar of Abbotsford, BC; sons Graham Collins of Vancouver, BC and Wayne (Christine) Collins of Smithers, BC; grandchildren Michael (Gloria) Quast of Powell River, BC; Sean & Samantha Townsend-Collins of Smithers, BC; and great grandchildren Shaylene, Christopher and Teyia Quast of Powell River, BC; Nieces Sandra and Elaine Harrison of Oxford, England; nephews Michael Collins of North Wales, George and Richard Leach of Reading, England and Nicholas Harrison of Oxford England.
Sidney was predeceased by his brothers Percy and Bert Collins, his sisters Mabel Leach and Betty Harrison, all in the United Kingdom and by his former wife Margaret of Abbotsford, BC.
Services to be held at the Chilliwack United Church, 45835 Spadina Avenue in Chilliwack, BC 604-792-4634 on Wednesday August 16, 2006 at 2:00 pm.
Arrangements by First Memorial Funeral Services in Chilliwack, BC. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Chilliwack Animal Safe Haven Society (www.thesafehaven.ca) or Eliza-beth’s Wildlife Centre in Abbotsford, BC.