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Volunteers vital for festival

PUBLISHED: 09:00 31 July 2010 | UPDATED: 22:00 01 August 2010

ORGANISERS of the Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival paid tribute this week to the tireless efforts of the army of volunteers who play a vital role in making the event a reality.

ORGANISERS of the Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival paid tribute this week to the tireless efforts of the army of volunteers who play a vital role in making the event a reality.

More than 350 people from 35 local and regional charities and voluntary groups will all play an active part next month when the two-day show takes over the town on August 12 and 13.

With thousands of people gathering on the seafront and organisation vital, festival directors say that without the support of these volunteer groups the air show “could not go ahead”.

Now in its 14th year, the air show is now no longer regarded as a local community event; it has established itself as an important regional fundraiser involving charities from a wide area.

A record-breaking number of volunteers will carry out a range of duties including acting as stewards, carrying out bucket collections and assisting at the park and ride sites, as well as selling official programmes and merchandise at a number of booths along the seafront.

The volunteers are drawn from an array of Rotary and Lions Clubs, environmental organisations, youth groups and community support groups from Lowestoft and surrounding towns. This year all seven Rotary Clubs of Norwich will be represented along with helpers from three local environmental community groups, Gunton Woodland, Corton Woodland and Bonds Meadow.

Brian Hunter, the festival director responsible for stewarding and volunteers, told the Journal: “We are enormously grateful for the volunteer support we are promised each year. Without this support we just would not be able to have an annual air festival.

“We believe the Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival is unique because of the way it is funded and the huge involvement of local charity groups. We hope visitors will spare a thought that when they put a donation in the many buckets that as well as supporting the air festival they are also helping to enhance the infrastructure of many clubs and organisations,” he added.

In return to their assistance, all the clubs and organisations will benefit financially either as a direct payment or in commission - making the air show vital to many local groups. Last year just over £28,000 was paid back to help them continue their valuable work in their communities.

That took the total paid out to charity by the not-for-profit Air Festival company to £118,000 in five years.

As part of The Journal's campaign to Keep Lowestoft Flying, air show organisers once again called on locals and visitors to donate a minimum of £2 per person to help fund the £300,000 festival.

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