This has been a tough year, with hard lessons to be learned. G-CEXP remains at Gatwick, still sitting airside, and still looking unloved and neglected. We've tried hard to get access to her, so that we can at least do some cleaning and tidying, but her inaccessibility creates huge security and safety burdens for the airport. We want very much to move forward with the restoration project, but we have to tread the tightrope between remaining committed and making ourselves a bloody nuisance.
While the XP project has been largely stalled, we acquired two new aircraft; the Hawker Siddeley HS125 and English Electric Canberra at Bournemouth. We've also been working hard on locating a site that could home the three airframes.
Suddenly, everything has changed. Bournemouth's plans require that the Canberra and HS125 move out urgently, and we just aren't ready. We could possibly accomodate the cockpits, but we hate the idea of sawing up near-complete airfrmes. Fortunately, another group has stepped up who should be able to save them.
We're happy to step aside to clear the way for the Canberra and HS125 to enjoy a complete future, but this sequence of events has also given us pause to think more clearly. We've allowed ourselves to be distracted from our core mission, and it's time to refocus on our real job.
So XP is now our one and only project. Priority one is to find her a safe home. That should be easier with only one airframe to accommodate. A museum would be ideal, but right now the corner of a field would do nicely. Once she's out of Gatwick and properly accessible, we can build interest and raise funds with open days and work parties.
It's been a difficult lesson, but we've learned it, and we're excited about the next phase.
Thanks very much Nick, it's certainly tough to push ahead with preserving old aircraft. They're fragile and demanding but, when we were still able to have airshows, were second only to football for attracting spectators.
Old birds like the Herald may not be as glamorous as a Spitfire or a Lancaster, but they're incredibly important as items of living history. We hope in our small way to preserve these connections to aviation's past.
Thank you very much for your support. Every pound is a step closer to the goal.