The hand-over of Chivenors helicopter search and rescue duties has been delayed for a week. The service was expected to transfer to a private company in St Athan, South Wales at 1pm tomorrow (Thursday) but the Maritime and Coastguard Agency has now asked the RAF to provide cover for an extra seven days.An RAF spokesperson said: Chivenor will continue to provide full helicopter search and rescue (SAR) capability for a further period of around one week at the request of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency who asked for this continuance. The option to provide a continuance of service has been part of the UK SAR Transition Planning programme for all of the six RAF SAR flights in the UK and this request will neither affect the level of SAR service across the region served by Chivenor, nor in any impede the future careers of RAF personnel serving at Chivenor. An MCA spokesman said: We can confirm that Bristow SAR operations from our St Athan base will commence first week of October. The military-operated service at RAF Chivenor will be maintained until the Bristow service goes live. An identical statement was issued by Bristow this evening.On Monday, a spokeswoman for Bristow told the Gazette there had been delays in the introduction of the new Augusta Westland AW189 helicopters but the handover would go ahead as planned. She said that AW139s would be used until the new aircraft were ready but it was not known for how long.Concerns Shadow North Devon Council leader Brian Greenslade has tonight expressed his concern at the sudden news that Bristow will not take over the search and rescue service from October 1 as expected. He said: Bristow and the MCVA owe us a detailed explanation. Bristow has had long enough to get its act together. I think the community is entitled to know why this situation has arose so we can judge whether this is a blip or evidence of an on going problem. I trust we are not seeing a shambolic situation arising which could give our community a poorer service in the future. This does say to me that my long held concerns about the private sector operating such a vital public service is valid. Thank goodness for the Royal Air Force who will continue to operate the search and rescue service from Chivenor until Bristow can take over.People are being invited to watch the Sea King fly back to Chivenor from the Tarka Trail near Braunton tomorrow lunch time. The helicopter is expected to return from an over water training sortie between 12.30pm and 12.45pm.