Nottingham-based Focus Consultants has been working with the Vulcan to the Sky Trust to undertake an options appraisal to identify the best possible future for the iconic aircraft Avro Vulcan XH558, The Spirit of Great Britain.
The Vulcan was flown by the RAF for 33 years between 1960 and 1993. She was built to deliver Britain’s first atomic bomb, ‘Blue Danube’, as a deterrent against Soviet aggression during the Cold War. Through fundraising and restoration work, widely believed to be the most complex technical heritage project ever undertaken, she was returned to flight in 2007 and has since performed in numerous air shows across the UK and Europe.
However, for a range of technical reasons, the aircraft is coming towards the end of its flying life. The Vulcan to the Sky Trust, which owns and operates the aircraft, is keen that there will be continuing public benefits once she has stopped flying in the form of education and inspirational activities around the aircraft aimed at helping to solve the shortage of engineers and technical staff that is currently a significant challenge for British businesses.
In recognition of this, the Vulcan to the Sky Trust has been awarded £10,000 funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Start Up Programme to identify the most effective future role for the best conserved large British aircraft of her era after she is grounded.
For the last three months, Focus has been working with the Trust to examine a range of options which will allow the Vulcan to maintain the value endowed upon it by the public and enable her to continue to deliver substantial public benefit.
Dr Robert Pleming, chief executive of the Vulcan to the Sky Trust said: “We are thrilled the Heritage Lottery Fund has recognised the potential of Vulcan XH558 to bring value to our economy and pleasure to the public even when she is no longer flying. We have been working with Focus to look at how XH558 can continue inspiring young people with the excitement of engineering and innovation, helping to solve the UK’s technical skills shortage.”
Associate at Focus, Heather Frecklington, said: “The Vulcan has incredible significance, as a powerful reminder of the knife-edge tension of the Cold War, an innovative engineering triumph and a symbol that continues to pull on the heart strings of the British public. It is essential that her revered position is maintained once she has been permanently grounded and is not lost for future generations. At Focus we are proud to be working with the Trust to identify an option that not only ensures her survival in outstanding condition, but also ensures she continues to inspire and benefit the public who have shown boundless support for her hitherto.”
The Vulcan is currently based at Robin Hood Airport, Doncaster.
Focus, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary during 2014, offers a range of services in the heritage and development sector, including funding and economic development, regeneration expertise, energy consultancy and chartered surveying services.
Since its creation in 1994, Focus has secured more than £925 million of grant assistance and delivered more than £1 billion of projects and programmes - making it one of the most successful businesses of its kind in the country.
It has worked on a range of high-profile projects in the arts, heritage and tourism sector, including some of the major museums across the UK, and important historical and ecclesiastical sites.
As well as its head office at Phoenix Business Park in Nottingham, it also has branches in London, Leicester, and Boston and Aubourn in Lincolnshire.
For more information visit www.focus-consultants.co.uk
Press release issued by Nottingham PR company Perfect 10 PR www.perfect10pr.co.uk