Pilots are not meeting at present due to Covid 19.  We will let you know when the Friday evening sessions can be resumed.

Altrincham Pilots      

Pilots is the United Reformed Church young people’s organisation for both boys and girls aged 5-12+.

We meet each term-time Friday evening at Altrincham United Reformed Church, Woodlands Parkway, Timperley. WA15 7QT.

New members always welcome.

For more details, please contact Megan on 07968 298684 or Church Office Tuesday to Friday morning 929 9747

'All aboard' - the start of our meeting - is at 6:15pm and we close with 'all ashore' at 7:30pm. In between we do some learning about God and the church, play games and do crafts - above all we are there to have FUN.

During the year, a varied programme of activities is planned to enable the Pilots to achieve their six Crests: Prayer, Interest, Learning, Overseas, Talent and Service. 

Here’s a flavour of what we get up to:

  • Craft, painting, needlework, cooking, games, table tennis, treasure hunts, puzzles
  • We mix learning with fun, covering a wide variety of topics and themes e.g.  Fairtrade, road & rail safety, first aid, pets, Chinese New Year, bees, life skills (ironing/sewing on a button), Show & Tell evenings, nature trails, film nights.
  • Overseas: Using the national URC Pilots Pack we have learned about Canada, Hungary, Pakistan, South Korea, Taiwan.
  • Bible stories and prayer activities, and once a year we organise and lead worship in church with drama and singing.
  • For charity: Making sandwiches for the homeless; carol singing (followed by Christmas party)
  • Trips: Pantomimes, trampolining, wall climbing, ten pin bowling, Manchester Storm ice hockey.

Once a year, we meet up with other Pilots groups in the North West for a Big Day Out (Warwick Castle, Lytham St Anne’s) or an activity weekend at the beautiful Quinta Hall in Shropshire.


Pilot Commissioning

In May 2013 the new Pilot company at Woodlands Timperley was inaugurated. Pilot officers and helpers were commissioned and certificates were presented. Anne Hatch, the Regional Pilot Officer was present to welcome and encourage all in their efforts.

Presentation of certificates



Pilots camp September 2015

It was in great anticipation that 21 of us set off for the adventure Through the Keyhole which was the theme of this year’s North West Pilots Camp.

Our Pilots joined forces to meet up with another 50 Pilots and leaders from around the North West.

Through the Keyhole gave the Pilots a glimpse into the lives and adventures of six Bible characters. Jonah, Noah, David and Goliath, Daniel Joseph and Jesus.

Through games, arts and craft drama and video they learned more about the context of the stories and how the message applies to their lives today.

Our Pilots were extremely knowledgeable when it came to recounting the stories and participated well in all of the sessions.

During free time and entertainment sessions Pilots were able to play table tennis snooker rounder’s football and other games. The entertainment took on a particularly messy nature at one point with a number of leaders being subjected to plates of double cream to the face.

A film crew were there for the whole of Saturday so look out later in the year for a special Pilots DVD being released by the National Pilots desk.

The food was also a hit with all of our Pilots who particularly enjoyed the turkey roast dinner on the Sunday.

All in all it was a great weekend and we look forward to next years which will be held at the same venue but in May. A big thanks must be given to Andrew and Abigail who came along in a leadership role, we cannot do these things without dedicated leaders. Thanks again.


Pilot Car wash - In aid of Tikwere Nursery - Malawi

Tuesday 2nd July saw the car wash and table sale in aid of this years charity - Tikwere Nursey in Malawi. A magnificent sum of £257.04 was raised in the process. See some pictures of their efforts below.




Just an Hour a Week!!      Pilots at Hale—the first 25 years 

ONE DAY in 1986 the Revd Jeff Yates, our Minister at the then Hale URC (now Altrincham URC), asked Sue Stratton if she would consider starting a Pilot company at Hale. “Just an hour a week,” he said—with the usual twinkle in his eye.

Pilots is the national youth organisation of the URC, its origins going back to the Congregational Union. Older readers will recall the John Williams missionary ships, and collecting ship halfpennies. The badge of Pilots, showing a boat with its mast and sail in the form of a cross, continues the theme. 

It reminds us too of the logo of the World Council of Churches with its motto -"(To) The Whole Wide World.” 

So we started with a group of just ten children in the Coffee Lounge, with Susan as Captain and Ann Ash invaluable as First Mate. Graham Ash made the Bridge so that the meetings could be started properly, with the ringing of the bell for All Aboard. 

In 2009 we were very sad to see Ann Ash leave us, to go and live in Devon. For a while the future of Pilots hung in the balance, until Linda Meredith came forward as a leader—bringing many new ideas, for example for fund-raising.

We have always been very fortunate in the level of support we have received from parents, as well as from the Church. Quite a few parents find that they can assist on a rota basis. The Pilots’ year has settled down into an established pattern. A highlight from an early stage has been the visit to the Nature Reserve at Freshfield near Formby. As well as the chance to see Red squirrels and Natterjack toads, there is the walk along the beach, with ample opportunities for fun, sand-castle building and going in the sea. In all our outings over the years the sun has never failed to shine. 

When Hale Pilots started there used to be a Christmas show called Christmas Crackers, hosted by Edgar Roberts and put on by members of the Church. The children put in an appearance at this early on, with some music and sketches. By about 1992, this had grown into a twenty-minute production of Dick Whittington which basically formed the whole second half of the show. 

THEN ONE year we heard that for various reasons there would be no more Christmas Crackers. The challenge was accepted, and Pilots went ahead with a show which they put on entirely them-selves. This first one was The Quest in 1993. Now it is a tradition in its own right— always called the “pantomime,” though it is no such thing really. 

One fine day Ann Ash was tipped off by Jean Budenberg that there was a fine pantomime cow costume in one of the charity shops in Altrincham, going for the knock-down price of £12. Recognising a bargain when she saw one Ann snapped it up. Ever since then, finding ways of working an appearance by a Cow into the scripts has been an ongoing challenge. No subject has proved beyond the Pilots—be it Cleopatra, the Saxons invading Britain (right) or the Sound of Music. 

THIS DRAMATIC talent is put to a more serious purpose later in the year when the children put on a production to lead morning worship in Church one Sunday, usually in Lent. They have per-formed Joseph by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Jerusalem Joy by Roger Jones, Brother Rock by Richard Gordon-Smith (above) and many others. More recently we have branched out a little and produced our own material based on the New Testament stories of Jesus.


75th Anniversary of Pilots nationally

Pilots work for six badges:













In 2011 Pilots celebrated their 75th anniversary nationally. Here in Hale we held a big party to mark the occasion. Last year we celebrated the 25th anniversary of our own Pilots at Hale, and we look forward eagerly to the next 25 years!