Helicopter owner seeks funds to help get cafe plans off the ground

The Sea King helicopter which is being transformed into a cafe. Inset: the Sea King in action as a search and rescue helicopter.
The Sea King helicopter which is being transformed into a cafe. Inset: the Sea King in action as a search and rescue helicopter.
5
Have your say

A Scarborough man is hoping to restore a helicopter to her former glory by transforming it into a seaside cafe.

Businessman, Ben Stonehouse, 25, purchased the Sea King chopper at an auction and, after spending more than £10,000 already, is now looking for investment in order to propel his dream into a reality.

Ben Stonehouse, who purchased the helicopter at an auction.

Ben Stonehouse, who purchased the helicopter at an auction.

He said: “This is a very exciting opportunity for people to get involved in a truly unique project. While this has always been a dream of mine – to own my very own helicopter – I know there will be lots of people out there who would like to be part of that dream too.”

The Sea King, a former Search and Rescue helicopter based at RAF Leconfield, will be renovated into an upmarket cafe in the hope of creating a unique experience for residents and visitors to Scarborough. Ben is currently locked in talks with Scarborough Borough Council in order to find a suitable location for the Sea King Cafe.

The Moonlight Cinema owner had hoped the Sea King could be based at the old Royal Albert Cafe site, but he admits it is not a possibility.

He said: “That would be the ideal location. However the investment required for this would be more than £100,000 as the council wish for the site to be turned into holiday apartments. If anyone has a suitable location overlooking Scarborough or on the coast, it would be great for them to get in touch.”

The Sea King has been transported to a location in Scarborough where work will take place to get plans off the ground.

Ben said: “I will need help from former RAF engineers that worked on these great machines.

“Hopefully we can be open for the summer season with a number of jobs being created too. However there is lot of work to do and without the help of the public it might take years.

“I suspect a lot of people will want to come and visit the Sea King once open so it will be a great tourist attraction for all to see.”

Donated funds will be spent on sourcing parts, restoring her to her former glory, obtaining any planning required and technical drawings among much more.

Ben is offering a number of incentives to those who invest in the Sea King Cafe project including free coffee for a year, customised T-shirts, a private launch party, your name on a rotor blade and the opportunity to name the helicopter.

A total of more than £1,300 has been raised out of a £5,000 target with Ben admitting there is a long way to go.

He said: “It’s a great start, It will certainly help . She won’t ever fly again, but people will be able to enjoy the helicopter experience without needing to take to the skies.”

To donate, go online to www.crowdfunder.co.uk/sea-king-cafe.