Celebrities have joined the campaign to save one of RAF Lossimouth's famous search and rescue helicopters and keep it in Moray as a tourist attraction and educational resource.

The famous yellow Sea Kings have been at the base since the 1970s, and have been involved in hundreds of rescue mission since, from finding climbers lost on the mountains to saving seamen from stricken vessels. But from the end of March, they will stood down.

The charity Morayvia, which seeks to preserve Moray's link with its airbases, is trying to buy one to add to the Nimrod which formerly flew from RAF Kinloss. Its base is a former primary school in Kinloss.

High-profile figures supporting the campaign include journalist and TV presenter Lorraine Kelly and actress Joanna Lumley.

But one of the major hurdles to be overcome is that that the Sea Kings are scheduled to be decommissioned in Hampshire. So unless Morayvia can buy one before the end of March it would have to pay for it to be transported back north, as it would be unable to fly.

The Ministry of Defence would only say at this stage that it was its responsibility to get best value for money for the taxpayer from any equipment sales.

Decisions on the value would be decided either by a bidding process or the nominated sales value on defence disposals website.

But Morayvia's supporters believe a determined fundraising effort before the aircraft are decommissioned is necessary.

Morayvia co-founder, Mark Mair, said locally: "We all see the Sea Kings flying around, but the only time you ever get in it is when it's life or death or you have a serious injury.

"If we raise the funds to buy one, it would give people the chance to see inside the aircraft, learn about it and get a glimpse of a helicopter which has saved countless lives and assisted in many emergencies.

"The helicopter is iconic. The crews which fly it are iconic, and the engineers that keep it in the air are unsung heroes. It would be a tremendous tribute to all of them."