For many years the Sea King Helicopter has been a wonderful sight over the mountains and seas where I live. RAF Lossiemouth is only a few miles away and we see the wonderful sight of the Sea King almost daily. Since I joined the RAF Mountain Rescue Teams in the early 70’s I been so lucky to spend so much of my career in the Sea King. In the early days of the Sea Kings much we take for granted nowadays was experience hard one especially in the mountains. To fly round these great cliffs often in wild weather takes special skill by all the crew. To fly at night in the early days of Night Vision Goggle’s in the mountains was an incredible experience. To see a Sea King coming in at night to a remote mountain cliff was a sight I will never forget.
I live in a fishing village and the local population have great respect for the Sea King and its crews over the years. It is hard enough in a wild mountain but to be with a crew as they rescue crewmen of a vessel in trouble in a wild sea is an incredible sight. This aircraft has done so much and I feel as many do it would be a wonderful tribute to the crews and engineers to Save a Sea King for Moray. I would love to show my grandchildren an incredible aircraft that I spent so much time on. So many memories of good and sad days but so many lives saved in the mountains and seas. It is also worth remembering that the Sea King did so many medical incidents in remote areas all over Scotland. They moved pregnant and very ill people to the major hospitals and are a loved aircraft all over the UK. Ill babies were saved, transplants done and so many lives enriched. I hope we get a Sea King for Moray to me it would be a wonderful tribute to those amazing man and women in their incredible flying machines.
A CAMPAIGN to preserve one of the RAF’s iconic yellow Sea King search and rescue helicopters in Scotland as a visitor attraction, once they are decommissioned, is winning celebrity support – including from actress Joanna Lumley and TV presenter Lorraine Kelly.
The Morayvia aviation heritage charity is spearheading a bid to buy one of the distinctive choppers which have been a daily sight in the skies above the north of the country for decades, saving thousands of lives at sea and on the nation’s peaks.
Morayvia was formed in 2011 to preserve the last remaining example of the Nimrod maritime patrol plane before they were decommissioned at RAF Kinloss.
But one of the major hurdles to be overcome is that that the Sea Kings are scheduled to be decommissioned in Hampshire. So unless Morayvia can buy one before the end of March it would have to pay for it to be transported back north, as it would be unable to fly.
The Ministry of Defence would only say at this stage that it was its responsibility to get best value for money for the taxpayer from any equipment sales.
Decisions on the value would be decided either by a bidding process or the nominated sales value on defence disposals website.
But Morayvia’s supporters believe a determined fundraising effort before the aircraft are decommissioned is necessary.
Morayvia co-founder, Mark Mair, said locally: “We all see the Sea Kings flying around, but the only time you ever get in it is when it’s life or death or you have a serious injury.
“If we raise the funds to buy one, it would give people the chance to see inside the aircraft, learn about it and get a glimpse of a helicopter which has saved countless lives and assisted in many emergencies.
“The helicopter is iconic. The crews which fly it are iconic, and the engineers that keep it in the air are unsung heroes. It would be a tremendous tribute to all of them.” Morayvia formed in May 2011 to take forward work started by the Nimrod Heritage Group, to preserve the last remaining Nimrod at RAF Kinloss – XV244. Formed as a private company limited by guarantee on 26th July 2011, Morayvia was granted charitable status in January 2012 through the assistance of Donna Harper of Johnston Carmichael, Elgin.
Morayvia completed a Feasibility Study with funding from Project LEADER and HIE, which recommended establishment of a centre at the former primary school site at Abbeylands Kinloss. Morayvia is engaged with Moray Council under the Community Asset Transfer scheme for the Abbeylands site, and has leased the site prior to completing the CAT process. The lease allows further project development as well as preventing further deterioration to the buildings and surrounds.
Please help have a look at the web site and donate if you can? www.morayvia.org.uk