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Businesses call for air show support

PUBLISHED: 09:37 19 June 2009 | UPDATED: 10:15 06 July 2010

SEAFRONT businesses in Lowestoft are leading the call for more organisations to show their support for the town's annual air festival and to help ensure it continues in the years ahead.

SEAFRONT businesses in Lowestoft are leading the call for more organisations to show their support for the town's annual air festival and to help ensure it continues in the years ahead.

The town's Seafront Air Festival attracts more than 400,000 people and volunteers who organise what is one of the region's largest spectaculars need the backing of local businesses.

If the festival is to continue to thrive in future years more businesses must get behind the organisers and show their support.

This year's festival on July 23 and 24 is definitely going ahead with a programme including the RAF Red Arrows, the only surviving Vulcan bomber that is still flying, and a host of impressive military and commercial aircraft.

Paul Bayfield, managing director of the festival, said: “The support we receive from seafront businesses is vital. The businesses not only give their support on the days but throughout the year. However, if the festival is to continue in the coming years we need more to come on board.”

Mr Bayfield praised those that do support the air festival including the South Pier, Claremont Pier, Hotel Victoria and Hotel Hatfield.

The Hotel Victoria sponsors the Friends of the Air Festival as well as being the venue for committee meetings throughout the year. General manager Peter Hoyle is in no doubt about the importance of the festival.

“Lowestoft may have had a rather negative image in recent years but the air festival has really turned that around. The air festival gives a huge boost to tourism and is crucial to the success of the whole town,” he said.

The Hotel Hatfield is another seafront venue where important meetings are held and managers and staff are always keen to show their support for the air festival.

The Claremont Pier is a focal point during the festival but owner David Scott is another who helps all year long and said it was vital for local people to show their support.

“We need local people to put their £2 in the collecting buckets and businesses to show their appreciation for what is a great event.

“Years ago Lowestoft was known for its fishing industry but now it is known for the air festival.

“I am convinced that people who come to the town for the air festival will want to come back and enjoy the fabulous beach and other facilities we can offer,” he said.

The South Pier sponsors the Thursday night fireworks and general manager David Clarke also wants to see more businesses backing the festival.

“This is the biggest event in the Lowestoft area and it would be such a shame if it ever has to fold. The whole town benefits from the air festival in so many ways. It helps create jobs and gives the town a real boost,” he said.

It is estimated the air festival is worth in the region of £10m to the local economy but Mr Bayfield believes even this figure could be an under estimation.

“I believe the air festival's contribution to the Lowestoft economy is incalculable but equally the support the air show gets from our business sponsors is also incalculable,” he said.

To find out how to become a business sponsor, a Friend of the air festival, or help in any way visit www.lowestoftairfestival.co.uk

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