James Bond fans are being called upon to support the Vulcan Bomber plane, reports the Leicester Mercury.
Currently based in Bruntingthorpe, near Lutterworth, the restored Vulcan bomber XH558–the only one still capable of flight–will be grounded unless supporters can raise £1 million by 6 March.
The plane flew for the first time in 15 years last summer after painstaking restoration work costing £7 million following donations from more than 20,000 people.
Richard Clarke, spokesman of the Vulcan to the Sky trust, which is campaigning to save the plane, is now hoping 007 fans will assist in what ways they can as the plane had a pivotal role in Sean Connery’s 1965 Bond film Thunderball.
He said: ‘We are calling on all James Bond aficionados to help us out. We need to keep this going.’
The scale model of that Vulcan–seen crashing into the sea in the Bond film–is kept in the aircraft’s hangar in Bruntingthorpe after it was donated to the campaign 15 years ago by someone who had worked on the set of the film and had it repainted to look like the XH558.
Richard said: “The Vulcan had an important role in the film. They used archive RAF shots of the Vulcan landing and taking off. We still have the actual model that they used for the scene where it crashed into the sea. It’s on a scale of 10 per cent, so it’s about 20 feet wide. They must have done that into a water tank, but watching the film, it still looks real even now.’
James Bond expert Dave Worrall said: ‘It’s not so much an iconic plane as an iconic sequence for Bond fans. They used some stock footage of the Vulcan, but most of it was done by model work, including the scene of the plane crashing into the water and what happened when it sank to the ocean bed.’
‘They sank a full-scale model of the Vulcan in the Bahamas. It’s still there. Dive groups take expeditions out there.’
If the £1 million target (which will go towards hefty maintenance and running costs for the new season of shows) is not reached by 6 March, the the organisation will go into administration and the aircraft will be sold to a wealthy American.
For further information or to support the Vulcan, phone 0116 247 8145 or visit the Vulcan to the Sky Trust website.
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