Crowds get a last glance at Vulcan

The XH558 Vulcan flew over Bruntingthorpe on sunday as part of the 'Farewell Tour'.'PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER
The XH558 Vulcan flew over Bruntingthorpe on sunday as part of the 'Farewell Tour'.'PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

A Cold War-era bomber that was based in our district for 15 years during a meticulous restoration project soared over Bruntingthorpe for the final time at the weekend.

The Avro Vulcan XH558’s flypast on Sunday was watched by about 2,000 spectators at Bruntingthorpe Aerodrome and an equal number who were estimated to have gathered in the roads and fields surrounding the site.

The XH558 is the last remaining airworthy example of the 134 Avro Vulcan jet-powered, delta-winged strategic nuclear bomber aircraft, which was operated by the Royal Air Force during the Cold War.

It made the special journey over Bruntingthorpe as part of its Farewell Tour programme but the owners of the aerodrome only heard about the flypast at short notice.

“The fact we still had 2,000 people at the aerodrome and another 2,000 nearby – despite the short notice – shows the Vulcan has a special place in the hearts of people living in the Harborough district,” said David Walton, the managing director of the aerodrome.

The XH558 was based at Bruntingthorpe for 15 years, from 1993 until 2008.

While there, it was painstakingly restored to its former glory and was made airworthy in 2007, making its first flight for eight years during October of that year.

Along the way, there were several fundraising campaigns by the Vulcan to the Sky Trust and its supporters to keep the project alive.

At several junctures, it looked like the scheme would be grounded but donations totalling £6.5million kept it alive.

The jet is now based in Doncaster and it made a trip north of the South Yorkshire town on Saturday while completing a three-and-a-half-hour southerly journey on the Sunday, which took in the Harborough district.

The Vulcan arrived over Bruntingthorpe at about 1.15pm.

Several of Bruntingthorpe’s other Cold War-period jets from its aircraft museum were also rolled out of their hangars for the day, including the Victor.

“There was a sense of emotion and nostalgia to the occasion, with it being the Vulcan’s last appearance above Bruntingthorpe,” added Mr Walton.