As we move into the last week in which search and rescue cover is provided from RAF Boulmer, residents have been sharing their memories.
It is clear that people from across north Northumberland are going to miss seeing the yellow Sea Kings in our skies after next Wednesday (September 30).
Pictured above are pupils and staff from Branton Community First School during a visit to RAF Boulmer last year after an invite from Squadron Leader Emma Landy.
Theresa McCann said: “Emma’s daughter Eva attended our school while they were stationed at Boulmer.
“The staff and children had a wonderful time and were thrilled to be able to step aboard the helicopter and watch a training exercise.
“We were also shown how the winches worked and how the lifejackets and dinghies were prepared for rescue missions.
“The thing the children will miss most, I am sure, is the visit by Father Christmas as he annually flew over the school with RAF Boulmer and waved at everyone.”
Some who are now adults also look back fondly on seeing the helicopters as children.
David Hopper, from Craster, said: “As children living in Newcastle in the 50/60s, our treat was to come by train as a family and stay in Embleton or Bamburgh for our holidays. We spent days on the beach. Loaded with towels, deckchairs, a Calor gas stove to boil the kettle and make the tea plus egg and tomato sandwiches, we made the long trek for our short legs from the village to the beach.
“Mum and Dad sat on the deckchairs behind the wind break reading the papers while we played and paddled.
“If we were really lucky the yellow rescue helicopter would fly down the length of the beach and we would wave at the crewmen who waved back.”
Sue Gibson, who has just retired from the St Aidan Hotel on the seafront at Seahouses, said: “Years ago, I worked at the RVI in accident and emergency and I was privileged, along with others in the department, to be given the chance to fly in the Sea King at Boulmer, which was just amazing,
“Over the last 11 years, I have seen some great sights of the Sea Ling landing opposite the hotel and making rescues out at sea.”
Adam Baker, also pictured, shared a photo which features him next to an RAF Boulmer Sea King during an exercise with the crew about two years ago. He isn’t the only one who will look back on exercises with the helicopter crews. Last week, the Coastguard crews from Amble and Howick took part in their final evening exercise before saying farewell.
Our Sea King: A poem
In Northumberland we have a King
Big, yellow and more precious than Ming
It flies over our countryside and sea
Saving those in peril wherever they may be
Since childhood days we’ve seen it fly
Engine thrumming across the sky
My Granddad used to say they went to meet
Those walking the hills in stocking feet
They fly along the coast keeping an eye
Returning our waves from high in the sky
It’s been in Boulmer 30 years in May
It’s my fervent wish it will always stay.
by Sarah Clark, March 2009