TWO battle-ready Army helicopters came to the rescue of residents who faced a 1,800ft obstacle to jubilee preparations.

The jubilee beacon being created on a hilltop in North Yorkshire will be one of about 4,000 around the country lit in honour of the Queen’s diamond jubilee.

But how to get ten tons of timber to the top of Penhill, overlooking Leyburn, from the grounds of Swinnithwaite Hall was proving a headache.

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Luckily, the military stepped in and offered to transport the heavy cargo beneath their Lynx helicopters as part of a battlefield training exercise for soldiers with the Army Air Corps.

The aircraft are traditionally used as a battlefield utility helicopter for anti-tank and reconnaissance operations.

Tim Zillessen, a spokesman for military units connected to Catterick Garrison, said it was a chance to train the younger and less experienced soldiers at Dishforth Airfield.

“This exercise was ideal for training them for foreign operations in places like Afghanistan where they would lift things like water and ammunition to the forward operating bases and patrol bases,” he said.

“We were also able to take advantage in that we could engage with the community and help them out which would be a pretty difficult task, transporting this cargo to the top of the hill 1,800ft up.”