Helicopter crew thank museum

By Kara Hughes-Jones

A museum had an unusual visitor when a Royal Navy helicopter flew in.

The Merlin helicopter, from Culdrose in Cornwall, landed next to the Manx Aviation and Military Museum so the crew could say thank you for helping the 700 Naval Air Squadron, which is the Navy's operational evaluation unit, in its hour of need.

During its last visit in October, the squadron was on its way to Norway for a training exercise when it had to stop off at Ronaldsway Airport to refuel.

But the squadron's departure was delayed because of a technical problem and, as the 16 crew were hungry, Andy Arnold, from the musuem, helped out by taking them to the Sunflower Diner in Castletown and the museum gave them hot drinks and any other facilities they needed.

Andy said: 'I couldn't stand by and watch these poor guys folder over with hunger. There aren't many eating places open late on a Saturday afternoon but the Sunflower Diner rose to the occasion."

'We are always pleased to see visitors from the services at the museum, particularly the Royal Navy because Ronaldsway was built by the navy in 1944 so we've a lot to thanks them for."

Two Merlins are expected to call in again about 11:30am on Saturday, November 26.

The helicopter is the world's most advanced anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare helicopter.

For more information contact the museum on 829294.

The above newspaper article appeared in the Manx Independent, November 18, 2005.