Crucial fight to keep the last Vulcan in the air

THE fight to keep the last airworthy Avro Vulcan flying has entered a crucial few days.

The iconic aircraft, which has proved a popular attraction at the Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival, could be permanently grounded if a bid to raise �400,000 by Sunday fails.

Restored, thanks to the Vulcan in the Sky Trust, its members have faced a constant battle to raise the cash to keep the XH558 airworthy.

And this year, due to the tough economic conditions and lost income from events like the Lowestoft airshow which were hit by poor weather, donations have suffered a big drop.

Trust chief executive Dr Robert Pleming said a meeting was due to be held last night to make sure that the appeal was on track to meet its �400,000 target.

He said it was hoped that �300,000 would have been raised by the time of the meeting, and yesterday morning the figure raised stood at �270,262.

'If there is any doubt, she will follow Concorde into permanent retirement, or be sold to a collector almost certainly abroad. If we don't make it, a heritage icon as popular as the Tower of London may never be seen by the British public again,' he said.

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Paul Bayfield, managing director of the Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival, said he hoped the trust would be successful with its campaign. 'There is no doubt that the Vulcan has been one of the most popular attractions at the festival here in Lowestoft' he said.

'The Vulcan is unique and makes a spectacular sight and sound as it flies along the Lowestoft seafront. All aviation enthusiasts will hope that it remains flying.'

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