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Engine failure strands Lancaster bomber in Britain

A storied Canadian warplane is stuck in Britain, unable to fly home after its air show tour abroad was cut short due to engine failure.

VeRa, a 69-year-old Second World War Lancaster bomber owned by the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, made a nearly 6,000-kilometre journey to Britain last month to take part in the Thwaites Lancaster Bomber Tour. But problems with its fourth engine Saturday forced it to shut down and cancel its performances at air shows scheduled this week.

The warplane is being fitted with rare, spare parts loaned by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, which owns the world's only other Lancaster bomber still able to fly. A test flight using the loaned engine was successful, according to updates posted to the tour's Facebook page.

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"We are incredibly grateful to the BBMF for the loan of an engine, which will hopefully see us honour the rest of our commitments here in the UK," said Pam Rickards, the museum's vice-president of operations, in a news release, "but we aren't able to use this to get back to Canada and urgently require funds to recondition this fourth engine."

The museum, which the news release states "receives little funding and is manned only by a small team of staff and dedicated volunteers," appealed for donations to pay for repairs to the faulty engine so the plane can return to Canada on Sept. 22.

"Any unforeseen circumstances like this can come as a real challenge and we have already donated to help our friends from the CWHM," said Des Gallagher, spokesperson for Britain-based Thwaites Brewery, in the news release. Thwaites sponsored the tour, and also brews the Lancaster Bomber ale.

The Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, located in Hamilton and displaying Canadian military aircraft from the Second World War onwards, is accepting donations from the public through its website.

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