Vulcan bomber will keep on flying
Air enthusiasts pledged nearly �500,000 in six days to keep the world's only flying Vulcan bomber up and running. The Vulcan to the Sky Trust, the organisation behind the restored Cold War icon which flew at last year's Lowestoft Air Show, said it had until yesterday to raise the �1 million needed to fund the plane's upkeep until the air show season began in May.
Air enthusiasts pledged nearly �500,000 in six days to keep the world's only flying Vulcan bomber up and running, it was announced yesterday.
The Vulcan to the Sky Trust, the organisation behind the restored Cold War icon which flew at last year's Lowestoft Air Show, said it had until yesterday to raise the �1 million needed to fund the plane's upkeep until the air show season began in May.
At a press conference outside the XH558's hangar, near Lutterworth, in Leicestershire, trust chairman and chief executive, Robert Pleming, said a surge of support had pushed the total pledged to �959,205.
With money fast running out, engineers working on the Vulcan at Bruntingthorpe airfield were given 28 days' notice on February 11.
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Mr Pleming said: "I am able to let you know now that the prospects of seeing the Vulcan fly again in 2009 are looking very much brighter than they were on February 11.
"This is a stunning achievement, especially when I tell you that, last Sunday morning, the total was standing at �480,000, so we have raised nearly half a million in six days."
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Mr Pleming said the trust had been stunned by the generosity, amid the current economic troubles, of its thousands of donors.
He said: "The average pledge is just under �100 - a very significant commitment at this enormously difficult time economically, one for which all who want to see the Vulcan fly are truly grateful.
"XH558 will fly because the public want it to. It truly is a 'people's aircraft'.'
He said the campaign for more funding would continue until the money-spinning show season, to help compensate for those cash pledges not made good.
In the long term, he said, the trust needed to change its business model to avoid any more flirtations with administration.
The RAF is "completely strapped for cash' and cannot offer financial support, he said, but the trust hopes it can raise public funds through its use as an educational tool for schoolchildren.
Among the events held to raise funds for the plane's upkeep was a visit by the trust to Norwich Aviation Museum, where a grounded Vulcan is on display, a fortnight ago.
Visitors gave donations and were able to quiz the crew about its history.