Air enthusiasts have raised enough cash to save the world's last remaining flying Vulcan bomber just days before it was grounded forever.
The Vulcan to The Sky Trust, which owns the Avro Vulcan XH558, was told it must raise £400,000 by Sunday or it would have to sell the aircraft abroad or ground it, but on Thursday the trust said it still needed to raise £75,000 before the end of the month if the project was to stay alive.
Even though they did not reach the target trustees agreed, the rest of the money could be raised after it received more than £43,000 in pledges.
Nearly two million people saw the restored Cold War jet bomber, described as a "national treasure", flying at air shows this year. Trustees want the Vulcan, which receives no Government funding, to fly for at least two more display seasons.
In a letter to supporters, chief executive of the trust, Dr Robert Pleming said the board of trustees contacted him on Friday to say the trust has sufficient liquidity to continue to trade after a windfall of donations.
He wrote: "We have received tremendous support from thousands of people, and from literally all four corners of the world. On behalf of XH558, thank you so very much."
The Vulcan, the world's first successful large delta wing aircraft, made its maiden flight in 1952. It acted as a nuclear deterrent during the Cold War, and was used in combat in the Falklands War, being flown 8,000 miles before dropping bombs over Port Stanley Airport.
The last Vulcan was withdrawn from service in 1984, but the XH558 flew on from 1986 to 1993 as the single RAF display Vulcan. It was sold to a family company, then bought by the trust, which restored the aircraft, returned to the air in 2007 and has taken part in dozens of airshows since.
Dr Pleming added that future plans include setting up a permanent base for the aircraft, which is currently housed in a hangar at RAF Lyneham, Wiltshire.
:: The £400,000 target is still £32,000 short. Anyone wishing to donate can do so by visiting www.vulcantothesky.org/donate or by calling 0845 5046 558.
www.vulcantothesky.org/donate(Vulcan to the Sky)