Page last updated at 09:48 GMT, Thursday, 25 February 2010

RAF Lyneham Vulcan Cold War bomber is saved

Vulcan bomber
It is hoped that the plane will perform a fly-past at the 2012 Olympics

A Vulcan Cold War bomber which is being restored in Wiltshire has been saved after the project received an anonymous donation of more than £400,000.

The plane, based at RAF Lyneham, is owned by the Vulcan to the Sky Trust charity which said the money is needed so it can remain airworthy.

The trust's Dr Robert Pleming said: "There's a massive sigh of relief from all who love this brilliant aircraft."

The Vulcan is due to celebrate its 50th birthday this summer.

The Vulcan to Sky Trust, based in Leicestershire, launched an appeal earlier in the year to raise £300,000 by the end of March to keep the plane operational.

'Good fortune'

Staff at the charity were put on a month's notice at the beginning of February after fears that the project could be closed down, grounding the Vulcan XH558.

Dr Pleming said the person who gave the donation had asked to remain anonymous.

The Vulcan is flying as a salute to literally hundreds of thousands of service people who were on guard during the Cold War
Dr Robert Pleming - Vulcan to Sky Trust

He said: "The aircraft itself is the last flying representative of a fleet of 300 or so aircraft - the Vickers Valiants, the Handley Page Victors and the Avro Vulcans - that were flying during the late-1950s, 60s and 70s.

"They were the aircraft that would have gone to war if the Cold War became hot and thank goodness that never happened, so from a heritage point of view it's very important indeed.

"The Vulcan is flying as a salute to literally hundreds of thousands of service people who were on guard during that period."

The Vulcan was withdrawn from service in 1984. It was restored at Bruntingthorpe Aerodrome in Leicestershire and flew there in 2007.

Many Vulcans remain in museums across the UK but the XH558 is currently the only one which is airworthy.

It is hoped the plane will perform a fly-past at the opening of the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

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