The Alvin Russell Trophy was initiated in 1977 as a result of subscription from friends and colleagues throughout hang gliding and is awarded annually to the British National Champion.
Three years in hang gliding doesn't seem like much now but to appreciate the contribution of Alvin Russell to the sport it is necessary to remember the intense pace of development that was the norm 25 years ago. When Alvin started flying in 1973 there were no clubs, no international competitions, no formalised training schemes, no clear requirements for schools or instructors. By the time of his death in a flying accident late in 1976 everything was in place and he had usually played a part in developing it.
Alvin was a complex personality. His background was in motor sport and music but once he became involved in hang gliding he became completely addicted, devoting every minute to it - even to the extent of continuing to fly with a leg in plaster. He founded the Long Mynd Club, imported Bill Bennett's range of Phoenix gliders, flew in every possible competition in Britain, pioneered overseas visits to alpine sites, advocated Sports Council support for our teams and correctly predicted their success if it were to be forthcoming, took up the post of BHGA Training Officer (for less than £20 per week!) and aided Brian Milton in setting up the League. He probably did much more besides.
Alvin was among the top British Pilots, always testing the limits of both weather and gliders. He died in Ireland on a relatively unfamiliar aircraft which he may have rigged incorrectly and his loss was felt as a body blow to all enthusiasts at the time.