Operating the last flying Vulcan, to aviation safety standards that are amongst the highest in the world, costs around £2million a year. To hit the 2011 season with stable finances, the Vulcan to the Sky Trust must raise £75,000 before the end of March, £125,000 during April and a further £150,000 by the end of May: a total of £350,000. According to Dr. Pleming, they have been hit by increased fuel costs and changes in VAT regulations that cannot be covered by the Trust’s growing commercial income. “We receive no money from Government or the RAF. Even with growing trading income, we are still dependent on the generosity of her supporters,” he says. “If we can’t raise this money quickly, the last flying Vulcan will not take-off for the 2011 display season.”
The aircraft was returned to the air in 2007 following exceptional support from the British public, the Heritage Lottery Fund and from a number of company sponsors. The project is thought to be the most technically complex restoration programme ever accomplished in any aspect of preservation. Since then, the Trust has strengthened its commercial activities and its engagement with the aircraft’s supporters. There is a new eNewsletter with fascinating pictures, news, competitions and technical updates, a Facebook page, the online shop has an extensive range of merchandise and supporters are encouraged to visit her whenever group access can be granted. “We are exceedingly grateful to the small band of visionary supporters who have generously donated so that we can get this far,” says Dr. Pleming.
But he concludes with a serious warning. “I have to tell you that however exciting the future looks, due to factors beyond our control we risk running out of money ahead of the air show season.Despite the hugely positive reaction from the millions of people who see the Vulcan in flight every year, it remains a mystery why so few are then motivated to contribute to keeping her flying.”
How to help
To raise the money, a package of supporter benefits is being launched that includes a special Summer Season Plaque that will carry the names of campaign supporters on the famous bomb-bay doors. Supporters can also buy insurance cover for the Vulcan, which earns them a specially-commissioned umbrella carrying the legend ‘I helped cover the last flying Vulcan’. Supporters can also donate via the Vulcan to the Sky Website (please remember Gift Aid) or buy from the vast range of Vulcan merchandise.
“It is absolutely vital that everyone who values the sight of XH558 appearing over the trees around the country helps however they can,” emphasises business development director Michael Trotter. “Despite the growing success of our commercial activities, we still rely on her supporters to keep her flying.”
Readers can sign-up for the new weekly eNewsletter at: www.vulcantothesky.org/register.html.
Join the Vulcan Facebook community at: www.facebook.com/pages/Vulcan-xh558/170427449654925.
To find out how to help XH558 remain The Last Flying Vulcan, visit www.vulcantothesky.org.
To find out where to see the last flying Vulcan, visit www.vulcantothesky.org/appearances.html.
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