THE Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival has launched a nationwide search for funding after failing to attract a main sponsor for the fourth year running.

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More than a million people have seen the two-day spectacular over the past three years, but since 2007 it has been without a major financial backer.

So the independent trust that runs the show has launched a national appeal to try to find new sources of sponsorship, just weeks after launching a local fundraising appeal.

Despite its popularity, the annual air show suffered a £40,000 loss last year. Dismal weather on both days saw a fall in the sums raised through bucket collections.

Managing director Paul Bayfield this week urged businesses to support the 2011 festival.

He said: “Having established itself on the annual calendar, our event brings a huge benefit to the local economy. This has given unparalleled opportunities for companies at local, regional and national level to promote, trade and host hospitality at the show.”

Describing it as “truly magnificent community- based event”, Mr Bayfield added: “Lowestoft and the Waveney Valley enjoy a great deal of publicity, public relations and tourism awareness simply because the air festival takes place.”

A report based on research conducted by the East of England Tourist Board revealed that the airshow – taking place this year on August 11 and 12 – boosted the area’s economy by more than £13m and created 180 full and part-time jobs in 2009.

The event was established 15 years ago and was originally run by Waveney District Council. It then changed hands and for the past seven years has been organised by the independent, voluntary, not-for-profit social enterprise company, Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival Ltd

The company works in partnership with Waveney and charitable groups to ensure the future of the event is secure. But, after several years of support from Bird’s Eye and a year’s backing from the now-disbanded Lowestoft Together, the air show has lacked a main sponsor.

A brochure outlining sponsorship options, including advertising, promotion, branding, product placement and corporate hospitality, is available. For details, call sponsorship and operations manager Keith Moughton on 01502 523398, email keith.moughton@waveney.gov.uk or write to Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival Ltd, 41 Tennyson Road, Lowestoft, NR32 1PS.

To find out more about becoming a the Friend of the show visit www.lowestoftairfestival.co.uk

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