Air show attracts 220,000

GALLERY A sun-baked Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival enjoyed a record-breaking first day as the world's only airworthy Vulcan Bomber joined forces with some old favourites to wow the crowds.

A SUN-baked Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival enjoyed a record-breaking first day as the world's only airworthy Vulcan Bomber joined forces with some old favourites to wow the crowds.

Glorious summer weather meant the beach and promenade were packed long before the 12th annual show got under way at 1pm yesterday.

And by the end of more than four hours of flying, the official figure for visitors stood at 220,000 - although other estimates put the crowd as high as 325,000.

With bigger attendances traditionally recorded on the second day of the show, the previous combined record of 420,000 was said to be almost certain to be eclipsed by the end of today.

After much planning, the awesome Avro Vulcan Bomber majestically soared into view at 4pm for one of its first appearances since its £6m restoration.

The sheer size of the plane and the noise it created transfixed the crowds packed along the seafront, but there were plenty of other stunning displays to keep them entertained.

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The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, featuring a Lancaster, Spitfire and Hurricane, gave a performance in keeping with the show's celebration of the 90th anniversary of the RAF, while the fantastic aerobatics of the Red Arrows brought the successful event to a close at just before 5.30pm.

Festival managing director Paul Bayfield said: “I'm absolutely delighted.

“This is the true Lowestoft Air Festival and this is the way we want it to be. To physically see the Vulcan was quite emotional although my favourite display has got to be the Typhoon.”

This year's show, sponsored by the Lowestoft Together community group, has cost £320,000 to stage and Mr Bayfield admitted soaring fuel costs meant organisers had to look at a more cost-effective line-up. However, he hoped the crowd had been entertained and donated generously to the scores of collectors around the seafront.

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