Eyes up for Lowestoft air show

After months of hard work, the 11th Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival gets under way today with a spectacular show promised for hundreds of thousands of visitors.

After months of hard work, the 11th Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival gets under way today with a spectacular show promised for hundreds of thousands of visitors.

The popular two-day event begins along the town's seafront at 12.30pm with a parachute display before up to

40 classic and modern aircraft

provide more than four hours of entertainment.

With the Red Arrows proving a major draw on both days and the Denny Dobson aerobatic team lined up to provide some sky-high thrills, festival managing director Paul Bayfield said the crowds could look forward to plenty of awe-inspiring displays.

“The display acts are world class and it is going to be a show of skill and precision. We've got some real 'wow' factor,” added Mr Bayfield.

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The festival is free, but organisers have once again stressed the importance of visitors donating a least £1 in the collecting buckets around the seafront.

Last year, more than £61,000 was given, but the cost of staging the show is in the region of £300,000 and Mr Bayfield stressed the importance of public generosity for an event that pumps more than £11m into the local economy.

“I want to thank the people who donated their pounds last year because they are the reason we are here this year. Putting a pound in the bucket is absolutely nothing; it's not even the price of an ice cream or half a pint of beer. You get a summer day out for a pound, which is brilliant value.”

The theme of this year's show is the Falklands War, to mark the 25th anniversary of the conflict.

Mr Bayfield also revealed that a question mark still hung over who would be the major sponsor of next year's event, although he stressed there was no major threat to it taking place. Frozen food giant Birds Eye has been the major backer for the past 10 years, but has not yet agreed to support the 2008 event.

Friday's event kicks off at 1pm with the Red Arrows setting the standard for the rest of the day before the focus of attention moves to the sea on Saturday and Sunday, with the first ever Honda 4-Stroke Powerboat Series coming to Lowestoft for the first time.

Seafront visitors will get a prime view of the racing, which takes place at 1pm and 2pm on Saturday and 12.45pm and 2pm on Sunday.

There will be many attractions and stalls along the front throughout the four days and early on Sunday afternoon, 1,000 charity motorcyclists taking part in the annual Eastern Lights cavalcade will arrive in the town.

Unfortunately the festival firework display, which traditionally takes place tonight, will not take place this year.

The weather forecast for today is for some showers throughout the afternoon with sunnier spells expected tomorrow and for the weekend.

See tomorrow's EDP for the latest flight schedule and a round-up of today's flying.

Video footage of the show will be available by logging onto www.EDP24.co.uk from tomorrow.

Donations to the air show can also be given via its website at www.lowestoftairfestival.co.uk


t All seafront car parks will be closed to the public on Thursday and Friday, with police operating a tow-away policy for vehicles parked in restricted areas;

t Two park and ride services will be provided from Dip Farm at Corton (off the A12 north of Lowestoft) and at the Pakefield Rifle Range (on the A12 south of the town). Both services will start from 8.30am and run at 10 minute intervals. Parking costs £10, including a free bus ride. Regular bus services will also be running;

t Park and walk sites will be available at the Walmer Road recreation ground (£6) and also Asda in Riverside (£10);

t Through traffic will be encouraged to use an alternative route through Oulton Broad;

t Disabled drivers can park at Belvedere Road;

t One Railway has added extra trains from Norwich to Lowestoft, running at 9.30am, 9.50am, 11.10am and 11.57am. An extra train will run from Lowestoft to Norwich at 6pm. To supplement the train services, there will also be a special bus service travelling between Beccles, Oulton Broad North and South stations and Lowestoft. Tickets much be bought at the railway stations.

For timetable information, contact National Rail Enquiries on 08457 48 49 50 or visit www.nationalrail.co.uk