AIRBOURNE organisers are sending out a simple message to anyone who enjoys the annual show. A donation of just £1 from everyone who goes will make sure this year is not its last.
The hugely-popular event relies heavily on the generosity of the tens of thousands who flock to Eastbourne to see it and this year Airbourne celebrates its 20th appearance.
However, with money tight and fewer sponsors able to help out with running costs, there have been warnings Airbourne may not see its 21st event unless revellers put their hands in their pockets.
It remains a free event and there are no plans to change that, after an ill-fated experiment with selling tickets backfired in 2009.
But the money it costs to hire the display teams and put on the showcase needs to come from somewhere and the team of bucket-waving volunteers are hopeful locals and tourists alike will continue to show their support.
Cathy Giorgi told the Herald, “Airbourne is an event which has been under serious threat in the last few years and as yet, there is still no major sponsor.
“The event itself runs at a loss. I believe that if most of the public realised there is a need to support it financially, most would.
“If everyone just gave £1 – Airbourne would be viable.
“Of course many local businesses do prosper from it and overall it is an event that brings prosperity to the town. It also puts us on the map and is a fantastic promotion for Eastbourne.
“Most in Eastbourne would like it to continue and are proud of the event. The bucket collection does make a real financial difference and helps to keep the event going.”
She also criticised local businesses who have not exactly been quick in coming forward to help. The Airbourne committee inundated a host of organisations to ask for help with the collection but have yet to receive any offers,
Mrs Giorgi lamented, “Yet again it’s up to a handful of passionate Eastbourne Hoteliers Association members to go out every day of Airbourne neglecting their own business to collect with a bucket.
“Bed spaces are already booked and busy in August. Hoteliers don’t really benefit directly – yet they’re the only ones who do it.
“All I can say is if people see an Airbourne bucket – please, please, please put something into it and help keep Eastbourne Airbourne.”
The money collected is shared between the cost of next year’s event and a chosen charity and this year 30 per cent will go to the RNLI.
People can still volunteer to help out at Airbourne, which runs from August 9 until 12, by calling Marco Giorgi on 07917714929 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
For details of the full Airbourne line-up, see Tuesday’s Eastbourne Gazette and next week’s Herald.