Villagers bid farewell to RAF crew when chopper drops in on sports field

Pictures: Michael Hopps


A helicopter search and rescue crew performed a mission of a different kind when they landed in Leconfield to bid farewell to villagers.

RAF helicopters have been based in the village for more than 50 years, but will cease operations on April 1 when a private company based at Humberside Airport will take over their role.

Hundreds of villagers gathered on the local playing field to watch the descent of one of the Sea King helicopters and meet its crew, including Flight sergeant Paul Tweddle who told the crowd it had been a pleasure to be in the village for so many years.

He said: “We’re all moving on to different things. Some guys are moving onto the civilian search and rescue at Humberside, while the rest of us are staying in the airforce and moving on to different jobs.”

RAF Leconfield, crews have rescued a total of 4,800 people since 1964 across an area from Sunderland down to The Wash, and from The Lake District right across to oil rigs in the North Sea, and Belgium and Norway.

Chairman of Leconfield Parish Council, Alison Healy presented a plaque to 202 squadron on behalf of villagers in Leconfield, Scorborough and Arram.

She said: “I’m so pleased that so many of you have come to give them a right roaring send off from us all. We wish them good luck in all their future pursuits.”