Public plea saves air festival

A drive to raise funds and increase public support has saved this year's Lowestoft Air Festival. Now organisers hope to build for the future and make it the biggest event of its kind in the UK.

A drive to raise funds and increase public support has saved this year's Lowestoft Air Festival.

Now organisers hope to build for the future and make it the biggest event of its kind in the UK.

And with a line-up including the Red Arrows and the new Typhoon Eurofighter already confirmed, the future looks bright.

The news comes after fears the event was doomed following the withdrawal of European funding and disappointing public contributions in previous years.


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Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival, the non-profit-making company set up to organise this year's show, said that if the 2005 show did not go ahead, it would be the end of the event. But it now says the festival, scheduled for July 28 and 29, is secure.

Managing director Graham Cooke said: "This is fantastic news. Not only have we confirmed the Red Arrows for both days, but we've got some really amazing flights booked for this year.

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"The Typhoon is confirmed for both days – this is astounding, as it's only showing five times in total this year across the country."

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the end of the second world war, and the festival will celebrate this milestone with a Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and a number of other flights involving wartime planes.

Thirty veterans on each day have been invited as special guests and representatives of the Ministry of Defence will accept their salute. A fundraising campaign to raise £250,000 was carried out to make the show possible.

Organisers say they had a good response from private individuals and a moderate response from businesses. But Mr Cooke appealed for further support.

"We've got a shopping list of planes to choose from to include in the display. But the more that people and businesses show their support, the more planes we'll be able to book. Time is of the essence, though, as we're working to a deadline," he said.

"I implore you to support this year's show. With your help we can achieve our goal of having the best air festival in the UK."

It is hoped the budget can increase over the next three years so the show can continue to improve.

Mr Cooke said: "We are planning to increase our budget from £250,000 to £325,000 over three years to ensure our show is the best.

"We all know that the highlight of the summer season is the air festival; it brings about £9m to our local economy.

"It's thanks to the supporters of the festival, both individuals and businesses, that it is going ahead this year."

Call sponsorship officer Keith Moughton on 01502 523398 for further information.

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