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Nimrod Rescue Print

Nimrod Rescue Print
Print 400px x 328px
Print 800px x 656px
Print 1600px x 1312px

Over the last 7 years Master Aircrew Andy Redfearn has been selling limited edition prints of his pencil drawing, so far he has raised and donated £11000 to various charities.  The drawing depicts the scene of the rescue of a Russian submariner from a Victor III class SSN, operating off the North West Coast of Scotland on 29 February 1996. 

The submariner, suffering from Appendicitis, was airlifted to hospital in Stornaway by a Royal Navy Sea King helicopter, after a 7 hour protracted search in the middle of a major naval exercise and involved 2 Nimrods, Royal Navy Sea King and Lynx helicopters.  The event was unprecedented and generated plenty of media interest; however, the quality of photographs taken suffered due to the poor weather conditions at the time of the airlift.  Andy, an amateur artist, who was serving on 206 Squadron at the time, came up with the idea to draw this historic event, produce prints and sell them in aid of charity.  The original idea was to have each of the captains, Russian and British sign the prints.

Royal Navy Lynx and Sea King
over the Victor III Class SSN

Nimrod photograph recording the airlift.
Click Image to Enlarge

The drawing was started in January 1997 and completed in May 1998 after well over 200 hours work!  The picture stayed firmly on the drawing board as attempts to obtain the submarine captains signature faltered.  Over the coming years continued attempts failed, the last information received stated, “The submarines captain had left the service and was untraceable”.

In February 2004, after the drawing had languished on the drawing board for almost 6 years, the then Commander-in-Chief Strike Command, Air Chief Marshal Sir Brian Burridge KBC CBE ADC RAF visited No. 8 Squadron where Andy served at the time.  The Nimrod connection was too great to ignore, Sir Brian is a former Nimrod pilot, Nimrod Operational Conversion Unit Commanding Officer and Station Commander at RAF Kinloss, the home of the Nimrod.  When asked if he would like to sign a limited edition of 500 prints he immediately agreed.  Sir Brian had also met the submarine captain who had been amazed that his old adversaries were prepared to go to the aid of one of his personnel!

Notts & Lincs Air Ambulance Presentation
ACM Sir Brian Burridge, FS Andy Redfearn & Mrs Vivienne Chambers, Air Ambulance Fund raiser
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The prints were produced and individually signed by Sir Brian and Andy in August 2004.  The prints, dedicated to the Nimrods Search and Rescue role, finally sold out in 2009; however, as explained later, 10 of the prints are still available.

Nottingham and Lincolnshire Air Ambulance

In March 2005, Sir Brian visited RAF Waddington again and along with Andy presented £3500 to the Lincolnshire & Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance.  The Air Ambulance provides an important and sometimes vital additional patient care service for critically ill and injured patients.  Based at RAF Waddington, the helicopter can reach any destination in Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire in 19 minutes.  This service is totally reliant on charitable support.

Kursk Kids Presentation
Wg Cdr Tom Bennington, Acting Stn Cdr RAF Kinloss, Andy along with Gary and Jan Alpin from the RSR pictured at RAF Kinloss
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Kursk Kid's Fund

From the outset, Andy always had a desire that some of the money raised would go to a Russian Navy charity; The tragic loss of the KURSK in August 2000 and a recent appeal by the Royal Sailors Rest for further help gave Andy the charity he was looking for.  In December 2005, Andy presented £4000 to Gary and Jan Alpin from the RSR Helensburgh- Braeholm at RAF Kinloss.  The money has been targeted at a small number of children, although having lost their fathers, had either fallen outside the criteria for state compensation, or have had this frozen until they are 18.  The RSR have worked very closely with a Russian lady, Ludmilla Bilitchenko, who was originally asked by the Russian authorities to work with the widows shortly after the disaster.  She accompanied 10 of the children on a holiday, organised by the RSR, to Scotland.  She was entrusted by the RSR to distribute the remaining funds raised after the disaster.  Since then she has continued to work closely with the families and with this donation has again been able to assist those children in need of the greatest help.

Russian Signature's

TAMBOV Captain
Captain 1st Rank Michael Ivanisov
(Ret'd) signing one of the prints.
Click Image to Enlarge

When Ludmilla received the donation she was accompanied by Admiral Michael Kusnetsov, who at the time of the rescue happened to be the commanding officer of the No. 7 Submarine Division in which the Victor III, K448 TAMBOV, belonged.  Knowing the submarine captain, who had indeed left the service, he has been able to arrange for his signature to be added to the prints.    Seventeen prints were sent to Russia, they duly returned with the signatures of the Admiral and Captain 1st Rank Michael Ivanisov.  The prints then travelled up and down the UK to get the Nimrod captain's signatures.  Seven prints returned to Russia to be displayed in various museums.

Moray Children's Heart Aid

The final charity to benefit was going to be the Moray Children's Heart Aid.  However this charity, local to RAF Kinloss, was in the process of being wound up when the third donation was ready.  Andy decided to make a £3500 contribution to the RAF Kinloss Charities Fund, knowing that a number of local worthy causes would benefit.  Andy attended a cheque presentation ceremony at RAF Kinloss in April 2010.

The final chapter in the story involves the 10 remaining prints with the additional UK and Russian signatures.  Andy's intention is to maximise the value of these exclusive prints to enable a final donation to be made to the Kursk Kids Fund.

For further information about obtaining a print you can email Andy directly using the following email address: