HISTORIC helicopters were in flight over Chard at the weekend, as part of an open day run at Chard Equestrian.

More than 500 enthusiasts attended the event, which also included drone racing, a climbing wall, den building for children, horseless horse trials, police dog display, visiting aircraft and fun rides.

For helicopter enthusiasts it was a chance to see the Whirlwind HAR Mark 10 and the Navy Wessex HU Mark 5 in action - the only ones of their type flying in the world.

At 1pm there was a special ceremony to commemorate the anniversary of the Fastnet Disaster 40 years ago.

Nineteen people died when a storm wreaked havoc on the race in 1979.

Emergency services, naval forces, and civilian vessels were summoned to aid what became the largest ever rescue operation in peacetime.

Chard’s weekend event was attended by a survivor, by pilot Albie Fox, and by “Smiler” Grinney, one of the rescue divers.

Andrew Whitehouse, event organiser, said: “The service was really moving and we were particularly honoured to have those involved in the rescue joining us.

“The survivor who attended asked not to be named, but they told one of our stewards afterwards that they were really touched to be invited.”

Profits from the day went to Historic Helicopters, which helps restore vintage helicopters.

Money was also raised for the charity Regain, with a ‘horseless horse trials’, where a team of three humans ran a timed obstacle course and other equestrian challenges.

Regain supports those who have become tetraplegic as a result of a sports accident.

For more information, visit www.historichelicopters.com.