Lowestoft air show chief organiser gets top award

The man who leads the way in keeping Lowestoft's air show a soaraway success has received a prestigious award from Rotarians.

Paul Bayfield, the managing director of the Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival, has been presented with a Paul Harris Fellowship award by the Rotary Club of Lowestoft South.

The Paul Harris Fellowship award was set up in 1957 by Rotary International and is given by individual branches to selfless people who make a difference to their community.

As Mr Bayfield spoke of his delight and surprise at receiving the award, he also described how plans for this August's air show are progressing.

Mr Bayfield is hopeful that an air show favourite, a Vulcan bomber, will fly over the resort – despite a �40,000 funding gap from last year's bad weather.

And he also revealed that next year's air show could break new barriers by possibly moving to a weekend earlier in the year.

Mr Bayfield, who has been involved in the air show since 1996, said: 'I have to say I was a bit surprised, really humbled, a bit embarrassed and obviously very proud to get the award.

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'But you have to remember this is a real team effort. It is not just me; there is a team involved and they all do a damned fine job.'

Mr Bayfield said negotiations were still on-going on bringing the former RAF Vulcan bomber to the air show again.

However, it will cost about �18,000 to book two 10-minute flypasts of the landmark plane.

The discussions come as air show organisers try to juggle a funding shortfall from last year's show, which was blighted by bad weather.

Mr Bayfield said: 'I hope to see the Vulcan come back again, but it is the most expensive aircraft to have for a display.

'The bottom line is that we are starting off from a position of weakness because of last year.'

Mr Bayfield confirmed that other air show favourites the Blades display team and a Hawker Hunter, will be taking part in August 11 and 12's event along with the Red Bull Pair team.

His latest update follows announcements that the Red Arrows and Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will also be flying over the town's seafront.

Moving forward a year, Mr Bayfield said 2012's air show may have to be moved to a weekend in June so it would not clash with the Olympics and interfere with flight safety plans for the global event. He added: 'We are very, very conscious of the Olympics.'

For information on the air show visit www.lowestoftairfestival.co.uk

anthony.carroll@archant.co.uk

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