In 1967 Southend Airport was in prime position to cash in on the new trend for holidays abroad.

In June the airport signed a merger with Channel Airways for the arrival of the firm’s first BAC One-Eleven 400 jetliner to operate out of Southend.

This meant holidaymakers from Southend could now fly to exotic new destinations including Palma, Paris, Jersey, Rotterdam and Ostend.

Yet despite the excitement of a new chapter in the airport’s history, not everybody was pleased about the merger. Southend West MP, Paul Channon, was besieged by complaints about the noise of the jet.

He raised the issue many time with aviation authorities, explaining how many of those raising concerns about the racket had lived within the “airport funnel” for many years and had never moaned before.

But now, with the arrival of the BAC One-Eleven, many residents were at ‘breaking point’.

Not long after the merger, the message “Jet Out” was daubed on Warner’s Bridge in Rochford, near to the airport.

One of the most determined anti-aircraft noise campaigners was Charles Leech, of Station Road, Southend.

Mr Leech got so angry at being kept awake in the early hours by low-flying aircraft from the airport that he telephoned the airport commandant - the man in charge - at 3am one night and woke him up.

The commandant, Anthony Cusworth, a former RAF squadron leader, lived in Thorpe Bay, away from the noisiest area. Suffice to say he was most upset at being woken from his slumber.

He was especially furious as it was reported that Mr Leech addressed him in Alf Garnett terms, asking “How many more of these bloody things are coming over?

A few nights later, when the same thing happened, Mr Leech was back on the phone to wake Mr Cusworth again.

Mr Leech told the Southend Standard: “The airport doesn’t accept any difference between night and day so why should I?”.

By October 1967 Southend Town Council voted to restrict the number of jets taking off at night at the airport to four- but there was no limit on the number of landings after hours.

The Southend Channel Airways merger was part of the country’s first “Bus Stop” aeroplane services linking Portsmouth, Southend, the Midlands and Scotland. The introduction of these jet aircraft enabled Channel Airways to become one of the leading package tour operator.

But all good things come to an end, and by early 1972 the carrier was far from flying high - it was at the end of the line. Operations ceased at the end of February, with the company’s aircraft sold to a rival airlines like Dan Air and British Airways.