Photo gallery: A look back at the history of the Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival

Ahead of this year's Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival, EDP reporter Mark Boggis took a look back at the history of the show.

With organisers making the shock announcement earlier today that 2012's festival will almost certainly be the last, his words have now taken on extra poignancy.

FIFTEEN GLORIOUS YEARS OF THE LOWESTOFT SEAFRONT AIR FESTIVAL


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Growing each year from a one-day event in its first year to the two-day full flying programme in this, its 16th year, the Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival now attracts more than 400,000 spectators.

When the opportunity for an air show came to Lowestoft in 1997, one of East Anglia's most popular events was born – and now it remains one of the biggest draws on the tourism calendar.

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Substantial funding was needed in the early days to ensure the event was to continue. For, despite the economic benefits, Waveney District Council could not underwrite the show.

European funds were secured to support the festival for three years from 1998 to 2000, and then a further four-year European grant was gained. But that funding has now ended.

With the show's success firmly establishing its impact to local tourism, in 2005 its organisation was taken over by a non-profit company comprising business and community volunteers – the Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival Ltd.

As an independent group, they have the will, imagination and drive to carry the festival on to further, greater heights.

However, with no main show sponsor and spiralling costs, the support of the local community and spectators is vital.

The present show costs about �300,000 to stage, but with continuing support from public and businesses, the Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival will hopefully continue as the highlight of the annual entertainment calendar.

- WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE MEMORY OF THE AIRSHOW? ADD YOUR COMMENTS BELOW

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