Be a Friend indeed of show

LOWESTOFT Air Festival organisers will be relying more than ever on the support of YOU, the public, to ensure the success this year of the hugely- popular event.

LOWESTOFT Air Festival organisers will be relying more than ever on the support of YOU, the public, to ensure the success this year of the hugely- popular event.

Firm bookings and keen inquiries have been made within the first two weeks of the launch of more than 400 new brochures to try to attract potential sponsors.

With six months still to go to this year's spectacular, almost 30pc of all available seafront space has already been allocated.

But, although interest from traders, exhibitors and spon-sors is already proving good, the recession means people need to dig deep to help make sure the show remains one of the top three air festivals in the UK - and the greatest spec-tacle in the local calendar.

Barry Hartley, one of the directors, said: 'We have allocated the same display budget as in previous years and we have had more contact with flying displays, individuals and teams than probably ever before - they all want to fly at Lowestoft. This is, of course, in addition to our usual contact with the RAF and foreign air forces, so there is every chance that this year's air display programme will be as full, varied and exciting as ever.

'With the economic downturn however, the 13th air festival on Thursday, July 23 and Friday, July 24 will be relying more than ever on renewed support from the general public.'

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One way in which supporters can help this year's show live up to its billing is to become a Friend of the festival. For several years the Friends organis-ation has been at the forefront of sustaining the event, with all income from membership going towards the flying displays. Several hundred membership renewal forms have already gone out to last year's participants. And the package has been updated to offer two types of member-ship. There's a new sponsor too: the Coast Restaurant at the Hotel Victoria, Lowestoft.

For �12, individual members will receive an exclusive Friends certificate and badge, exclusive access to the Friends area on the air festival website, free entry into a monthly draw for a meal for two with wine at the Coast, a free souvenir prog-ramme worth �3.50, sent as soon as they are printed, and special rates for attending the VIP hospitality marquee on the show's first day.

Family membership includes up to two adults and two children and costs �25, for which the benefits are the same as an individual package, but it adds an exclusive Family Friend certificate and four exclusive Friends badges.

All Friends are offered a 15pc discount on all pur-chases from the online shop, where merchandise includes air festival T-shirts, caps, keyrings, pens and ponchos.

Meanwhile, a dinner, dance and cabaret evening is being held at the Hotel Victoria on Saturday, March 14, to raise money for the air show. Organised by entertainer Kenny Cantor, it features a three-course meal and gets under way at 7pm for 7.30pm, finishing at midnight.

Tickets for the black tie event are �27.50 and can be obtained by calling air festi-val directors Paul Bayfield on 01502 587027, Brian Hunter on 01502 582901 or Barry Hartley on 01502 587577.

Use the form on the left to join the Friends. For more joining information, write to FOTLAF, 41 Tennyson Road, Lowestoft, Suffolk, NR32 1PS, or visit www.lowestoft Donations are also accepted at this address.

Cheques should be made payable to Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival Ltd.