Royal Navy chopper ‘Sea King’ swoops in for visit with Cookstown school children

Navy helicopter visits Cookstown Primary School
Navy helicopter visits Cookstown Primary School

Children at every school in Cookstown were treated to a visit from a Royal Navy helicopter, when it landed in the grounds of Cookstown Primary School on Tuesday.

The visit, which was organised by Cookstown PS principal Neil Downing, also gave children at neighbouring Cookstown High School, Cookstown Nursery, and Holy Trinity College and Primary and Phoenix Integrated the chance to look around one of the first Westland Sea King helicopters.

P1s take a tour of the chopper

P1s take a tour of the chopper

Built in 1969, the chopper is still in operation with the Navy today.

Mr Downing told the Mail the 650 youngsters who got to look around the impressive machine “were absolutely mesmerised by the whole thing”.

All many of them have done since is draw pictures of helicopters, talk about flying and Mr Downing said his P7s also think they would like to be pilots when they grow up.

Asked how the visit came about, he said the observer of the 849 Royal Naval Air Squadron, got in touch to see if the school would like a visit from the Cornwall based crew.

A visit inside

A visit inside

And that obviously the school jumped at the chance, but had to keep it hush, hush as there was a chance it could be called away on a mission at the last minute.

“It came about because some of the crew were from Northern Ireland,” Mr Downing said.

“I taught one of the crew and we were asked if we would be interested in a visit.”

As for how it went, he said the visit gave the children “a great insight” into what happens outside of Northern Ireland.

Crew in front of their bird

Crew in front of their bird

As well as speaking about their time with the navy, sailing the seas, he said the crew also spoke about science, technology, the humanitarian work they do.

Some officers from the PSNI’s local Neighbourhood Policing Team also went along to see the helicopter in action.

They thanked the schools, flight crew and the Sean King for having them over.

Proving there's a place for women in the Navy

Proving there's a place for women in the Navy

Members of Cookstown NPT with the Royal Navy, Cookstown Primary School, Cookstown High School and Holy Trinity College pupils

Members of Cookstown NPT with the Royal Navy, Cookstown Primary School, Cookstown High School and Holy Trinity College pupils

The chopper and its crew landed beside Cookstown PS

The chopper and its crew landed beside Cookstown PS

CHS students having a look inside

CHS students having a look inside

Crew talked to students about their humanitarian work, as well as science and technology

Crew talked to students about their humanitarian work, as well as science and technology