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Lowestoft Air Show a model for others

PUBLISHED: 10:05 06 July 2009 | UPDATED: 10:38 06 July 2010

AS the final preparations for this summer's Lowestoft seafront air festival get under way, the organisers of some of the UK's most popular air shows are heading to the resort to learn from the event's success.

AS the final preparations for this summer's Lowestoft seafront air festival get under way, the organisers of some of the UK's most popular air shows are heading to the resort to learn from the event's success.

The annual Lowestoft event, which is taking place on July 23 and 24, is unusual because of the way it is funded and the huge involvement of local charity and community groups who volunteer as collectors and stewards.

The show's friends' organisation provides a vital stream of funding for the show and, while admission to the seafront is free, visitors are encouraged to donate £2 to help cover the cost of staging the event.

This year, officials from seafront air shows in Clacton, Southend and Eastbourne will be coming to Lowestoft to see how the resort's air festival is run.

There is also interest from the organisers of an event in Lanark, Scotland, who have asked Glasgow University to carry out a special study of the Lowestoft show.

Paul Bayfield, managing director of the Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival, said: “All air shows are struggling - we are down £40,000 on sponsorship this year - and the way we run our air festival as a community enterprise is seen by many as the way forward.

“For this reason, we are now the focus of attention of many other air shows.”

Unlike Lowestoft, where the show is run by a charitable company, operated by unpaid directors and volunteers who took over responsibility from Waveney District Council four years ago, most other UK festivals are run by local authorities and attempts to raise funding have run into serious problems.

The 13th Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival is scheduled to feature more than 30 aircraft in four hours of flying displays on both days, including the Red Arrows, the Avro Vulcan, a Dutch F16 fighter and a USAF Stratotanker.

For more information, visit www.lowestoftairfestival.co.uk.

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