Thousands of people in Moray are lining up to back a move that it is hoped will retain one of the iconic Sea King helicopters in the region following their retirement in March.
The campaign launched at the weekend by Morayvia, the group seeking to create an Aviation-based visitor attraction in the region, has enjoyed a spectacular start in its bid to add a Sea King to its collection that already includes the last remaining Nimrod aircraft.
A specially commissioned limited edition of ten prints signed by the crew who took them on a flight from RAF Lossiemouth on New Year’s Day were offered for sale at £100 on Saturday – prints numbered 2-10 were quickly snapped up, while No.1 will be auctioned via insideMoray.
The campaign received another massive boost on Tuesday when an anonymous benefactor handed over £2000 for the cause.
Speaking for Morayvia last night Mark Mair said: “We are astonished and delighted at the reaction to our appeal following its launch on insideMoray at the weekend.
“We opened a social media page on Facebook and inside 48 hours over 3500 people lent their support, the reaction from the people of Moray and beyond has been absolutely tremendous.
“While we have several celebrities who have also stepped forward to voice their support it is the reaction of so many ordinary people who quite clearly care deeply for the work that has been done by RAF and Navy crews flying these helicopters over the years that is quite touching.”
The Sea King has been a familiar sight over Moray having first been brought into service in 1969. It is being retired at the end of March, with SAR duties being taken on by civilian crews and new state-of-the-art AW189s aircraft operating from Inverness Airport.