As public, politicians and press discuss the cuts to the defence budget a fight is currently underway to raise funds to preserve an iconic military relic from another era.
© Jamie Hunter
Supporters are trying to raise £400,000 to keep the last surviving flying Vulcan bomber, XH558, in the UK and this month they have launched an auction of memorabilia on internet auction site eBay to boost the coffers.
All proceeds will support the campaign, which must raise the total during October to prevent the historic aircraft being sold abroad.
Heading the list of exclusive framed aviation art, books and memorabilia is a mirrored drawing of a Spitfire signed by 37 Battle of Britain pilots and a limited edition book signed by Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason.
“This is the crunch month for us,” says Dr Robert Pleming, Chief Executive of the Vulcan To The Sky Trust. “We have to raise £400,000 during October to keep the last airworthy Vulcan flying in Britain.
“She’s an icon of the Cold War and a vital part of Great Britain’s engineering and military heritage. We have great plans for 2011, we just have to raise enough money right now to ensure that we get there.”
The Vulcan bomber played a vital peace-keeping role throughout the Cold War; it’s delta-wing design and Olympus jet engine technology paved the way for Concorde. It was so agile that its designers gave it a fighter-style joystick instead of the traditional bomber’s control yoke.
Other items to be auctioned on eBay include; books and pictures signed by squadron leader Martin Withers DFC, the only person to have captained a Vulcan in anger when it bombed the runway at Port Stanley during the Falklands war. The sale is complemented by original artwork and limited edition prints of XH558 and WWII aircraft, some signed by the artists or by aviation celebrities.
Vulcan XH558 is currently in a hanger at RAF Lyneham but negotiations are underway for a new winter home that is fully accessible for supporters, school-visits, training for young engineers, corporate hospitality and social events.
To bid simply search eBay for the seller vulcantotheskyenterprisesltd. Auctions finish on or before October 31 2010.
Visit www.vulcantothesky.org to read about XH558, sign-up for the newsletter, buy merchandise or make a donation to help keep her flying.