Vulcan could be grounded for last time
THE world’s only flying Vulcan bomber which has been one of the main attractions at the last two Lowestoft air shows could be grounded forever at the end of the month unless hundreds of thousands of pounds can be raised.
The trust which has restored and maintains the world’s last airworthy Avro Vulcan XH558 is in danger of going into administration at the end of February unless vital funds can be raised.
The Vulcan to the Sky Trust, which has put all its employees at its base in Brintingthorpe, near Leicester, on one month’s notice because of the precarious financial situation, has now launched a survival appeal to help raise �800,000 in donations by the end of March - �300,000 of which needs to come by February 28 to secure jobs and the aircraft’s future.
The organisers of the Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival last night<fri> backed the trust’s call to arms as it is hoped that the aircraft will soar over Lowestoft again this summer as the popular event returns to the town on August 12 and 13.
Airshow managing director Paul Bayfield said: “We’re quite concerned about what will happen to it, especially after all the hard work which went into getting it airworthy.
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“The Vulcan has been a huge draw in Lowestoft for the last two years. We’ve had an indication that if it keeps flying, we will definitely be on its flight plan so we are doing all we can to support the trust. We just hope this appeal lands on some sympathetic ears.”
Robert Pleming<corr>, chief executive of the Vulcan to the Sky Trust, said: “As we count down the days of February, thousands of our loyal supporters know full well what they will be missing if the worst comes to the worst for the Vulcan.”
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Funding for the Vulcan project has been a constant struggle, having taken a dedicated team 15 years to restore the Cold War bomber to flight in 2007.
Last year, it flew in 33 events, including Lowestoft, and appeared in front of 2.5 million people throughout the UK and Europe.
It costs the trust about �2.4m to cover operations each year, including its hangar and office rental, a large allowance for fuel and servicing with components overhauled or replaced.
<t> Donations and pledges can be made by calling 01455 637 864 or visiting www.vulcantothesky.org.
<t> An online petition has also been set up in a bid to secure the future of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, which has wowed the crowds at the Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival in the past, amid concerns that funding could be axed as part of cuts being made by the Ministry of Defence. The petition is online at www.petitions.number10.gov.uk/BBMFCuts.