Planes set to thrill seafront crowds
JONATHAN REDHEAD The planes are ready, the pilots are set and the marquees are up - now all that is needed is sunshine in time for the Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival.
The planes are ready, the pilots are set and the marquees are up - now all that is needed is sunshine in time for the Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival
Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to flock to the country's most easterly point for a show that will include several old favourites and some new aircraft this Thursday and Friday.
As well as hoping for good weather, organisers are looking for generous donations from visitors in a bid to secure the future of the show, which has been funded solely through sponsorship, grants and donations.
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Last year EU funding for the festival ran out and today the company organising the show said they hoped it would go from strength to strength.
Graham Cooke, chairman and managing director of the organisers, Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival, said: “The show brings about 350,000 people to the town, which brings a huge amount of revenue to the local economy. It really brings the community together.
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“I am really thrilled to be here as chairman and managing director as six months ago we were not even sure the air festival would go ahead.
“But thanks to local people, the Friends scheme, advertising and the help of Waveney District Council, our target is to bring off what's going to be the best air festival in the UK.”
Mr Cooke said the company planned to increase the budget for the show by £25,000 for each of the next three years, with the help of visitor donations.
Last year there was consternation as only £42,000 was donated. This year's target is £100,000.
One of this year's show highlights will be special Battle of Britain Memorial Flypasts for second world war veterans invited by the organisers.
Holidaymakers enjoyed an advanced preview as the Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16 and the Blue Eagles display team practised their runs on Wednesday.
On Thursday, they will be joined in the air by the Red Arrows, Royal Jordanian Falcons, and the Utterly Butterly wing-walking team among others, with the RAF's Westland Merlin kicking off the show at 12.45pm.
t Suffolk police are advising visitors to the show to use park-and-ride facilities at Dip Farm in Corton to the north of the town and at Pakefield Rifle Range in the south. Extra parking restrictions will be in force with through traffic encouraged to use an alternate route through Oulton Broad.
t Visit the EDP stand at the air festival where you can buy your EDP goody bag, which includes a glossy poster, a bottle of water, bag of crisps and a toy, kindly supplied by Langleys, Royal Arcade, Norwich.
t Full programme at www.lowestoftairfestival.co.uk