Last Thursday was no normal day in the village of Lumphanan, as spectators waited patiently for the much anticipated arrival of a Royal Air Force Search and Rescue (SAR) Westland Sea King helicopter.
As it hovered over the landing zone on the village playing field, a cloud of luminous orange flare smoke burst onto the grass followed closely by the aircraft, met by thunderous applause from the crowd.
The visit was organised by the newly-formed 1st Lumphanan Beaver colony in conjunction with the childrens’ Air Activities badge. Brownies and Rainbows were also invited along and approximately 50 children were able to view the aircraft inside and out.
The Sea King was introduced into Royal Air Force service in 1978 and today there is just one yellow Sea King in operation in Scotland. The men and women of the Search and Rescue force are on continuous standby, ready to respond day or night, whenever a call for help is received.
Flt Lt David Punchard of 202 Squadron at RAF Lossiemouth, who was instrumental in organising the visit, presented the children with their Air Actvitity badges and one of the young Beavers presented him in turn, with a mascot and medal as a token of their appreciation.
Lisa Zvegintzov, Assistant Beaver Scout leader, 1st Lumphanan Beavers, said: “This really is an experience that will stay with us all forever.
“We are very grateful to the RAF and the crew of the Sea King for donating their time and resources, for their tremendous enthusiasm and patience with the children and of course, for being who they are and doing what they do – our unsung heroes. Our thanks go also to parents and residents who helped with marshalling and chaperoning children on the day.”