AN AIRCRAFT MAD six-year-old who is prevented from experiencing flight because of a rare medical condition was treated to the next best thing on Thursday.
The red carpet treatment was laid out for Spike Coates and his family when they were the guests of Morayvia on an advance tour of the group’s science and technology experience centre at Kinloss.
Years of hard work by members of the group have brought them to the verge of opening the centre – with the delivery and permanent installation of their Sea King at the former school which will, from October, be opened to the public.
Spike weighed just 1lb 4oz when he was born three months prematurely and had only been given a minute chance of surviving. He was diagnosed as having neuropathic pseudo-obstruction, a rare chronic condition for which there is no cure – although various treatments do allow him to get by.
While Spike and his family live in London, his grandparents are in Findhorn and they joined the excited youngster and other members of the family on a special preview of the attractions at the new centre.
His delighted mother Nicola said: “Spike is a miracle really, his medical condition is complex but it is really amazing for him to experience something like this. Some people see his condition as life-limiting but we don’t – we are far more optimistic.
“Now the visit to Morayvia is something he can go back to London and tell his peers about, it is as close as he can get to experiencing flying – he has now done something few of his peers will have done.”
Spike was joined by several of the volunteers who have worked tirelessly to bring the centre to the verge of reality. As well as their prized Sea King, Morayvia has gathered a fantastic collection including the complete ‘Duke of Edinburgh’ Nimrod which is currently still parked up on the nearby airfield at Kinloss.
Joining the Sea King ‘on parade’ at the centre is the group’s Nimrod cockpit exhibit, a Canberra B2, Jet Provost, Vampire and a Commer Fire Engine. The centre has also been laid out with a walk-through of the history of aviation in Moray – from jet engines to the weaponry used by the ‘Mighty Hunter’ Nimrod during its many years of service from Moray.
Morayvia’s chief executive Stan Barber said: “The site is still very much a work in progress but we have come on leaps and bounds in recent months and in particular the last few weeks – all thanks to the astounding efforts of our volunteers.
“We have quite some way to go yet but we are planning to open the exhibition on selected days in September through an online ticketing system, while by October we should be ready for a formal opening.”
By the time the centre is opened to the public Morayvia aim to have a Sea King SAR ‘crew room’ in place that replicates the one from which ‘D’ Flight of 202 Squadron launched hundreds of rescue missions from RAF Lossiemouth.
More images from the new Morayvia centre: