Pay up to keep Lowestoft Airshow flying
David BaleVisitors to the 13th Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival are being urged to pay �2 each to ensure its survival, in a make-or-break year for the popular two-day show.David Bale
Visitors to the 13th Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival are being urged to pay �2 each to ensure its survival, in a make-or-break year for the popular two-day show.
Organisers of the event, which takes place tomorrow and Friday , have been forced to double the amount people are being asked to donate because of the economic downturn.
But with some of the world's most famous aircraft set to soar through the skies, the organisers said yesterday that �2 was still 'awesome' value for money.
Last year visitors were asked to donate �1 for the free event and festival managing director Paul Bayfield said money raised from that had ensured this year's show went ahead.
Mr Bayfield said: 'The two key things to get across this year are that the air display is the best ever and we are requesting the public give �2 to see the festival.
'We are considerably short through our sponsorship and fund-raising projects, and the �2 is vitally important in the current economic conditions.
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'The decision to ask for �2 rather than �1 was made to bridge the funding gap as, for the first time ever this year, we have had to dip into the 'wet weather contingency', which we have always had in place in case of two bad days of weather.
'Clearly, if people did not pay, it would have a potential impact on whether it can take place in 2010 and we don't want that to happen. That's why we are requesting the �2.
'We trust everybody to put the �2 in the buckets and we hope people will respond in a positive way.
'Two pounds is not a pint of beer - not even a decent ice cream. It's absolutely awesome value for money, as at other similar shows people could pay up to �38 for tickets.'
The event has been organised by the Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival charitable trust for the past five years, with the help of corporate sponsors and donations from visitors to the seafront. It will cost between �320,000 and �326,000 to put on this year's festival.
Last year's event raised �81,000, of which more than �28,000 went back to charities, and Mr Bayfield said they were hoping to at least raise that amount again.
An estimated 420,000 people came on the two days last year and the event won the Tourism in Suffolk award for the Best Festival or Event in 2008.
This year, aircraft from France, the USA and Netherlands will be joining old favourites at the event, with the French Air Force adding two Alpha Jet twin engine subsonic training craft to the already impressive line-up of 22 displays on both days.
Airshow favourites the Red Arrows and the world's only flying Cold War Avro Vulcan are also expected to draw the crowds.
The air festival took place for the first time in July 1997 and was organised by Waveney District Council.
The displays are scheduled to start at 12.30pm tomorrow and at 11.30am on Friday .
The two days of airborne entertainment will be followed on Saturday and Sunday in Lowestoft by the Honda Formula 4-Stroke offshore powerboat grand prix.
The Lowestoft Journal goes on sale tomorrow - a day early - and features a free 24-page airshow pull-out.
Log on to www.EDP24.co.uk for regular updates on the two-day event.