Surprise windfall reprieves Vulcan XH558!
After months of uncertainty, when the prospect of Vulcan XH558 ever appearing at airshows again was looking unlikely, an anonymous donation of over £400,000 has virtually guaranteed XH558’s return to airshows this summer.
John Sharman, Chairman of VTST’s Board of Trustees says: “This most significant donation comes as a very welcome surprise on top of all the thousands of donations and pledges received over the past four months from XH558’s incredibly loyal supporters, and has enabled the Board of Trustees now to commit to the wide-ranging and vital engineering programme, and to return XH558 to airshows around the UK this coming summer. On behalf of XH558 and all her supporters, a heart-felt thank-you to all who have helped.”
Including the anonymous donation and all the pledges, VTST has now raised over £900,000 against its original target of £800,000. Because the campaign did not reach its target at the end of December, the start of the winter engineering programme had to be postponed, and will now commence in the next few days.
However VTST will continue to run its funding campaign under the original “50th Birthday” banner right up until May the 25th, the Golden Anniversary of XH558’s first ever test flight, with the aim of building a sizeable cushion of additional donations as a prudent contingency. This funding campaign will run alongside VTST’s attempt to set a record for the number of greetings on a single birthday card, to commemorate XH558’s 50th anniversary.
John Sharman: “It’s vital that we continue our efforts to recruit more supporters from the 2.5 million people who saw XH558 fly last year. VTST’s business plan currently shows ongoing donations as the major revenue stream; we ask all our supporters to do everything they can to spread the word and bring many more people on board to ensure XH558 keeps flying!”
Dr Robert Pleming of VTST says: "Over the past few weeks, we have had countless people say to us that XH558 must carry on flying, and have backed that up with a pledge. But it’s also been very noticeable this year that people are less able to help, even if they would like to – the recession has made the progress of our campaign this year much slower. The timing of this amazing donation could not have been better. I have to believe that XH558 has a guardian angel, who has now appeared more than once to save her when all seems to have been lost!”
Vulcan XH558 has attracted record crowds wherever she has appeared, thrilling audiences and creating the so-called “Vulcan Effect”. As defence becomes an issue of current debate, the Vulcan is a unique reminder of the importance of deterrence as a strategy.
VTST’s plans are now geared to ensuring that XH558 flies down the Mall on June 4th 2012, in celebration of Her Majesty the Queen's – and the Vulcan's – Diamond Jubilee. These plans will include the launch of a new Annual Appeal running throughout the year, starting on XH558’s “Birthday” on May 25th this year, and a further rigorous review of operating costs.
For more info about the Vulcan to the Sky Trust please visit the official website.