PLANS TO ESTABLISH an interactive science and technology centre at a former primary school site near Forres has received a massive boost after the Morayvia group successfully tendered for one of the recently retired RAF Sea King Search and Rescue Helicopters.
Thousands of people from throughout Moray and beyond have been supporting a campaign to have one of the iconic aircraft “retired” home to Moray after they were withdrawn from service at the start of April.
Now their efforts are to be rewarded with confirmation this week that a Sea King will be transported back to Morayvia’s base at Kinloss where it will take its place alongside another knight of the Moray skyline, Nimrod MR2 ‘Duke of Edinburgh’.
“We are absolutely overjoyed to be able to announce that the MoD’s Disposal Services Agency has agreed that Sea King Mk3 XZ592 should be sold to Morayvia,” Stan Barber, the CEO of the Morayvia Science and Technology project has said.
He added: “This is the result of the fantastic effort and support we have had from civic, community and political leaders from throughout Moray, as well as from people far beyond our region with a love and understanding of just what the Sea King means to people in this part of the world.
“Above all it has been the support of the general public that his inspired us to put in so much time and effort to secure this fantastic aircraft.”
At the forefront of the drive to secure the aircraft has been the Lord Lieutenant of Moray, Lt Col Grenville Johnston, who said: “I was delighted to hear that Morayvia have been successful in acquiring a Sea King yellow helicopter.
“They have been an iconic part of the life of Moray. They are a symbol of the years of brave service carried out by the Royal Air Force in rescuing people in difficulties.
“Whether on land or in the sea the sight of the Sea King approaching you when you were in trouble must have been the best in the world. I am so pleased that we will have one on display in Moray. It will be an added attraction to the ever increasing popularity of Morayvia and its aims.”
The allocation of the helicopter, which is expected to arrive in Moray in the next few weeks, is, however, only the beginning of efforts to create a major section at the new centre as a tribute to the airmen and women who have served the RAF’s Air Sea Rescue service.
Morayvia Chairman Mark Mair has been a driving force behind efforts to raise funding to pay for the Sea King and its transportation and establishment in Moray. Mark said: “The total cost of establishing the Sea King in Moray will be around £30,000 – a considerable sum and thanks to the generosity of people in recent months we have some of this funding in place.
“However, we are some way short so in the next few days we will be launching a crowd funding effort aimed at securing all the funding required to ensure we have in place a fitting tribute to the SAR service in Moray for future generations to appreciate and admire.”