Search­ing for funds

Pilot - - OLD TIMERS -

By this time David Wal­ton’s fam­ily busi­ness had al­ready funded the project to the tune of £500,000 but had now reached its limit. It was clear that it was go­ing to cost a great deal more than the sums that were then forth­com­ing from vol­un­tary do­na­tions, to get XH558 air­borne again. David Wal­ton, Robert Plem­ing and col­leagues set about find­ing ways to bring in more money to the project. Fail­ure to do this, they warned, could re­sult in the Vul­can be­ing sold to an in­ter­ested Amer­i­can pur­chaser. This brought a strong re­sponse from many peo­ple con­cerned that such a valu­able Bri­tish her­itage as­set might leave the coun­try, so the project team es­tab­lished the Vul­can to the Sky (VTS) pro­gramme, a ma­jor fundrais­ing and PR cam­paign.

In it­self VTS could not pro­duce any­thing like the sev­eral mil­lion pounds re­quired, so an ap­pli­ca­tion was made to the Her­itage Lottery Fund (HLF) in 2002. The bid was re­jected. With a very strong pub­lic re­ac­tion to this re­jec­tion the HLF ad­vised VTS ahead of the sub­mis­sion of a re­vised ap­pli­ca­tion in May 2003. This in­cluded an ed­u­ca­tion pro­gramme that would take the story of the Cold War to the widest pos­si­ble au­di­ence.

When it be­came clear that there would be no sub­stan­tive ap­pli­ca­tion to re­turn a Con­corde to flight, the HLF an­nounced on 23 June 2004, that it would ini­tially award £2,734,000 to the VTS project, thus en­abling the ad­min­is­tra­tive pro­cesses to get un­der way.

The first of th­ese was to ‘pur­chase’ XH558 for the na­tion from its owner C Wal­ton Ltd on 3 March 2005 for a nom­i­nal sum, al­low­ing the newly es­tab­lished Vul­can to the Sky Trust (VTST) to pro­ceed with the prepa­ra­tions to get the Vul­can fly­ing. The HLF grant, to­gether with the part­ner­ship fund­ing raised by do­na­tion, cor­po­rate sup­port and fundrais­ing, all helped to make up the ini­tial £3,970,000 re­quired for the project.

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