Page last updated at 09:57 GMT, Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Vulcan bomber facing cash crash

Vulcan bomber
Campaigners say the Vulcan is an important part of the nation's heritage

A Cold War bomber, restored by enthusiasts for 7m, may be grounded because of a cash crisis.

The Vulcan first flew in public last summer after 15 years of repairs, but financial problems could bankrupt the Leicestershire trust behind it.

An appeal for new donations has not reached its 1m target.

A letter from high-profile supporters, including Sir Richard Branson, appeared in a national newspaper calling for the government to intervene.

Vulcan XH558 was restored at Bruntingthorpe aerodrome with more than 2m from the Heritage Lottery Fund and 5m in other donations.

We are doing this for the nation and we hope the nation will support us in our hour of need
Dr Robert Pleming, Vulcan to the Sky Trust

The aircraft, which used to be based at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire, took part in several displays last summer in front of an estimated 1.5m people.

But the costs of simply keeping the aircraft in flying condition, about 80,000 a month, have not been met because corporate sponsorship has been falling.

Dr Robert Pleming, chief executive of the Vulcan to the Sky Trust, confirmed the staff had already been given their one-month notice.

"It is a very serious situation," he said. "We are basically making a plea.

"We were seen by one and a half million plus people last year and we are convinced those people are not yet aware of the plight we are in.

"We are hoping that by making a lot of noise in the media, some of those people will say 'I want to see the aircraft fly again'."

The current appeal has seen 260,000 pledged but the trust has said it will not call in the pledges unless the target was reached.

Dr Pleming added: "We are doing this for the nation and we hope the nation will support us in our hour of need."

The open letter, also signed by Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees, author Frederick Forsyth and Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Knight, demands the Vulcan be given a place on the RAF's memorial flight.



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SEE ALSO
Bumpy return for Vulcan 'dream'
06 Jan 09 |  Leicestershire
Vulcan bomber team asks for 1m
01 Dec 08 |  Leicestershire
PM petitioned over Vulcan funding
24 Oct 08 |  Leicestershire
Vulcan grounded by engine trouble
02 Oct 08 |  Leicestershire
Funding woes for restored Vulcan
03 Sep 08 |  Lincolnshire
Vulcan gets full display go-ahead
04 Jul 08 |  Lincolnshire

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