Businessman launches bid to save the Lowestoft airshow

A LOWESTOFT businessman issued a rallying cry this week – urging people to help save the town's airshow.

Steven Saunders, manager of Elephant Interiors in London Road North, has set up the Save Lowestoft Airshow 2013 appeal and is urging people and businesses to dig deep to ensure the event takes place next year.

As reported in The Journal last week, the show's organisers have announced that the two-day spectacular will not go ahead next summer because its finances have been badly hit by the poor weather and lower-than-expected turnout at this year's event in June.

The news has spurred Mr Saunders into action to try to save the show by setting up his appeal.

Mr Saunders, who grew up in Lowestoft and has seen every airshow, hopes to raise some of the �60,000 needed to top up its wet weather contingency reserve, which was used up covering the costs of this year's event.

Without a full wet weather fund, organisers say they cannot afford to go ahead with the airshow as it could end up as a financial disaster if heavy rain put off the crowds again next year.

Mr Saunders's appeal will run until September 20 as that is about the time airshow organisers will need to know if they have managed to fill the contingency pot in time to book aircraft for 2013.

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He said: 'The vast majority of people in Lowestoft do want the airshow.

'It is one of East Anglia's biggest events. It brings a lot of people into the town, people who visit shops. If we don't do something about it, then it won't happen next year.'

He added: 'I'm optimistic. I am confident the people of Lowestoft can raise enough. The generosity of people in this town has always been fantastic.

'Every penny will count in the appeal. People can give a �1 or �10 or whatever they want.'

Mr Saunders, who also runs the Pride in Lowestoft Facebook page to help promote the town, has started the appeal by putting in �50 and he says Colin Law, the leader of Waveney District Council, has also pledged to make a donation.

This year's airshow was the first to be held at a weekend and, despite attracting an estimated 300,000 visitors over the two days, only �85,000 was collected in programme fees and donations.

Although organisers are making no plans for 2013, they still hope the show can be saved if a generous benefactor or sponsor steps in.

A spokesman for the airshow said: 'We are pleased to hear the appeal has been set up.'

?Donations for the Save Lowestoft Airshow 2013 appeal can be left at The Journal's offices at 147, London Road North. Any money donated will be collected daily by Mr Saunders, who is in the process of setting up a bank account for the appeal. If the appeal fails to reach its target, or the money is not needed by the airshow organisers, Mr Saunders will donate it to the Lowestoft-based children's charity Help an East Coast Child.

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