BLACK CAT LYNX RETURNS AS GATE GUARD TO PORTLAND MARINA
DELIGHTED girls and boys from 1st Portland Scouts gathered around the gleaming Lynx helicopter on Friday 20 Feb 2015, welcomed back to its original Gate Guard home at the former RNAS PORTLAND (HMS OSPREY) which is now a thriving marina.
John Dean and Richard Reddyhoff of Dean & Reddyhoff Marinas hosted the Gate Guard ceremony which was attended by Cllr Kate Whellan, the Mayor of Weymouth, Commander (Cdr) Louis Wilson-Challon and Cdr Henry Merewether. They were joined by various members of the Lynx Helicopter Force and its maintainers from RNAS Yeovilton alongside local representives from Portland.
Commander Louis Wilson-Challon, Commanding Officer of the Lynx Wildcat Maritime Force (LWMF) at RNAS Yeovilton said;
“Having flown this actual Mk 3 Lynx Helicopter between 1996 -98 I am delighted to see it back here celebrating the Royal Navy’s long and illustrious associaition with Portland.”
The returned Westland Lynx (XZ250) completed its service life after 32 years, 8 days and accumulated a remarkable 7,667 flying hours with 702, 815 and 829 Naval Air Squadrons and nine Ship’s Flights operating around the world.
This Lynx completed its long life as one of the Black Cats Lynx Display Team, and has now settled at its new home standing guard at Dean & Reddyhoff’s Portland Marina where it is on loan from RNAS Yeovilton until March 2017, back in pride of place as part of the days handover Gate Guard Ceremony.
Dean & Reddyhoff celebrate the strong links which the Royal Navy has with Portland and is also the site of a beautiful Portland stone memorial, unveiled in 2010 in memory of 29 young men from HMS ILLUSTRIOUS who lost their lives on 17th October 1948 when their liberty boat capsized in Portland Harbour.
Richard Reddyhoff, of Dean & Reddyhoff Marinas is delighted with the return of the marina’s Gate Guardian which has already caused considerable interest amongst the public visiting the marina. Richard said:
“The Lynx was much missed when she returned to RNAS Yeovilton for a package of maintenance.”
Richard Reddyhoff stressed the importance of the site’s association with Portand’s past and expressed his thanks to the Royal Navy. All present look forward to these links being maintained in the future, enhanced by the polished and liveried Lynx XZ250.