Record-breaker air show

A RECORD amount of cash was donated by visitors to this year's Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival - even though the ratio of people paying up was lower than in 2007.

A RECORD amount of cash was donated by visitors to this year's Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival - even though the ratio of people paying up was lower than in 2007.

Delighted show organisers yesterday revealed that at least £80,245 was thrown into donation buckets along the seafront during last week's highly successful two-day event.

The figure eclipses the £59,206 made last year, but only 260,000 people attended that event compared with 445,000 during last week's glorious summer weather.

All visitors are asked to make a £1 donation to the free event, meaning a ratio of one in 5.5 people paid up this year compared to one in 4.5 in 2007.

However, festival managing director Paul Bayfield said: “To collect more than £80,000 in buckets in just two days is a fantastic result and will take some beating.

“It is worth emphasising, however, that this Air Festival would not take place without the generosity of the spectators and our sponsors and above all, the army of volunteers who come forward every year to help us.”

Most Read

The previous biggest air show attendance was achieved in 2006 when one in seven of the 420,000 crowd made donations totalling 61,000. Following that, organisers launched a campaign to stress the importance of visitors handing over at least £1.

Mr Bayfield acknowledged the current financial climate may have discouraged some people from making donations, but stressed the final total of more than £80,000 meant there would be another quality flying line-up for the 13th show next year.

He added: “I think we are winning. The money we raised this year was a win and we need to win just a little bit more.”

This year's show, staged on Thursday and Friday last week, cost £320,000 in total to stage and secured displays from a host of aircraft including the Avro Vulcan Bomber and the Red Arrows.

Along with donations from the public, the event is also funded by a number of sponsorship deals and the sale of merchandise and programmes. The money raised from the sale of show-related goods this year is still being counted.

Brian Hunter, Air Festival company director with responsibility for voluntary collections, said: “I am absolutely delighted that we received the continued support of people who came to the air show.

“I would like to congratulate the 120 bucket collectors who responded to the challenge of the huge attendance and came through with flying colours”

t The 2009 Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival is scheduled to take place on July 31 and August 1 next year.