The last remaining Blackburn Beverley aircraft has been saved from the scrapheap thanks to the actions of an anonymous benefactor and Condor Aviation.
The aircraft, XB259, is one of 49 Blackburn Beverley Transport aircraft built at Blackburns site at Brough, East Yorkshire.
Until recently she had been residing at Fort Paull near Hull, a preserved gun fort but this recently closed following the death of one of its key team members.
Martyn Wiseman, Managing Director of Condor Aviation, said: “The Blackburn has had an esteemed history, and as a fan of radial engine aircraft, I couldn’t bear to see this go the same way as all the others.
“Working with a benefactor who shares my passion, we secured the XB259, along with a large number of artefacts relating to its history, from Fort Paull when the heritage site was auctioned off in late September.“
Plans are now underway to move XB259 to Birchwood Lodge, a private airfield in Yorkshire, not far from the original site where the Beverley was built.
Future plans involve the creation of a library & exhibition to show the extra artefacts connected with the aircraft and members of the public will be invited to visit XB259 at its new site.
XB259 never actually formally served with the RAF as it was retained by Blackbun under the civil registration G-AOAI which is perhaps the reason why it is the sole survivor of the 49 built.
Blackburn, perhaps most famously known for the Buccaneer, was absorbed into Hawker Siddeley in 1960 during the rationalisation of British aircraft manufacturers.
The aircraft has a crowdfunding page set up for donations at https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/save-the-blackburn-beverley-aircraft
“Any donation, however large or small, will help us towards our fundraising targets,” said Martyn. “You can donate £1 and become an owner of one of the 440,000 rivets that hold the beast together, or donate £259 for a historical guided tour of Yorkshire by air in our own 1939 radial engine aircraft; we don’t want to let this icon go the same way as the others.
He added: “The long-term plans for this aircraft are incredibly exciting, and whilst it’s too early to say anything in confidence, we hope this to be the first stage in providing a haven for veterans emotionally or physically affected by conflict. That’s why, anything above and beyond our target will be to work with and donate to Help for Heroes.“