Charity only has eight weeks to raise millions to build a new home in Doncaster for a famous plane

A charity needs to raise £2.2 million to build a new home for the Avro Vulcan XH558 which could be housed in Doncaster if they’re successful.

By Laura Andrew
Tuesday, 2nd November 2021, 12:36 pm

The Vulcan to the Sky Trust (VTST) has until December 31 (eight weeks away) to raise the millions it needs to secure a mortgage and build a new home for the famous plane.

Michael Trotter, business development director at VTST, said: “We have made some great progress on the plans for The Vulcan Experience to deliver a fitting legacy to Dr Robert Fleming, our figurehead from the project’s inception.

“The charity has always had two guiding principles, to honour those who served us in the past and to inspire future generations to make meaningful change in the world.

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They need to raise millions to save the plane.

“The Vulcan Experience will embody those guiding principles in a memorable and unique centre.

“We now have an Agreement for Lease, which will become a full legal lease for the hangar once the funding is in place and this is supported by an operations agreement that will allow access to the airfield for tours, including our popular engine ground runs.

“We have worked collaboratively with DSA since 2021 and specifically on the new hangar plan since 2017.

“We all want to see XH559 under cover in a dedicated hangar bringing visitors to the area and inspiring future generations.

Avro Vulcan XH558 'The Vulcan Experience' fundraising campaign.

“We now have just weeks to raise the money needed for this rescue mission to secure the future of this important national heritage asset.

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“XH558 has been without cover for several years due to a lack of funding.

“In support of the project DSA acquired land to facilitate the new hangar three and a half years ago with a reasonable expectation that funding for a purpose built hangar would follow soon thereafter.

“DSA has waited patiently for us to raise the money needed and provided a home for XH588 free of charge for over three years.

“VTST has now taken the decision that it must either secure the funds to build the facility or relinquish its option on the land.

“The build costs for the hangar have now been fully reviewed as the original quotation was made four and a half years ago; the cost for the building now stands at £4.6m.

“This is due to the increasing costs of materials, not least the rise in steel prices.

“This presents us with a huge challenge.

“While we are continuing our negotiation for a mortgage of up to £2.4 million to help us build The Vulcan Experience, the increased costs mean that we can no longer ring fence the £500,000 that we had allocated for the Name under the Wings campaign of 2019/20 towards Operation Safeguard.”

The Operation Safeguard campaign to date has delivered a quarter of a million pounds through public donations and the 558 Executive Alliance.

“While this demonstrated the continued support for XH558 some five years after she was grounded, it still leaves a huge funding gap and fundraising in the middle of the pandemic has had a significant impact.

“This could be the toughest battle Vulcan has faced yet, coupled with the untimely passing of Robert.

“This is a huge ask.

“We need to raise the funding in weeks to enable us to build the hangar and get XH558 undercover.

“We are calling on people from across the country with an interest in heritage, aviation and the Climate Challenge to get behind this project and help us to create a venue that will inspire generations for decades to come, and through our Green Technology Hub investigate solutions to greener travel.”

This will be a first phase of the project and will secure a permanent home for XH558, an asset of national importance, and enable access for people to share the plane's story.

People can support the campaign by adding a name to the aircraft.

Named will be added permanently under the delta wing of the Vulcan XH588, on the bomb bay doors and undercarriage doors for a donation of £50, and on other designated areas for a donation of £30.

Each dedication comes with a personalised certificate and acts as a commemorative receipt for the requested donation.

Each donation will also be treated as a contribution to Operation Safeguard and, as such, donors will also see their names featured on exhibits in the new hangar as well as membership of the Vulcan Guardians Scheme.

Businesses can support via the Vulcan 558 Executive Alliance - a membership group open to businesses from all across the UK.

Any company that joins the alliance will, in return for sponsorship, receive a package of benefits including having their name displayed on a dedicated members’ wall in the new hangar.

For more information click here.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Liam Hoden, editor.