Residents back Airbourne’s £1 donation plea

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AIRBOURNE donations reached a record high this year after the crowds responded to the donate £1 appeal – securing the airshow for 2013.

Donation buckets were brimming and the monies counted so far already amount to the most ever collected in the event’s 20-year history.

This comes after the Herald urged readers to get behind the popular airshow by putting £1 in the bucket.

Collections at the four-day event were organised by Eastbourne Hospitality Association - 30 per cent going to Eastbourne RNLI and 70 per cent to offset the cost of future shows.

Proceeds from programme sales, which also topped those from last year, will also help fund for future shows.

Eastbourne Hospitality Association vice president, Marco Giorgi said “The message seemed to get across for the first time that just £1 from everyone would assure the future of Airbourne. The show costs a huge amount to put on and can never be taken for granted.

“However well it’s supported financially, that £1 in the bucket gives the organisers a clear message the people of Eastbourne want the show to continue.”

There were some minor hitches with mist causing all flying displays to be cancelled on Thursday, the Vulcan flying an hour earlier than billed on the Saturday and some disappointment the Red Arrows were not there.

However, The Vulcan was the star of the show and attracted record-breaking crowds on the Saturday. People packed the seafront, beaches, Western Lawns, Wish Tower slope and the Downs. The car parks were full by 2pm on Saturday – another first for the show.

Cllr Neil Stanley, Eastbourne Borough Council cabinet member for tourism, said, “I have never seen so many on the seafront, we certainly had our best turn out ever for the Vulcan.

“It was wonderful to see this huge gleaming hulk of a jet appear from around the corner at Beachy Head – simply amazing.

“Thank you everyone who supported the event - whether by volunteering, donating or purchasing the programmes and radio headsets. It all helps us to keep Airbourne soaring high.”

Southern Railway saw record numbers of visitors come in to Eastbourne station. Graham Thrower, Eastbourne station manager, said, “More than 36 per cent more people used Eastbourne station to get to and from the airshow compared to Saturday last year.

“We once again instigated a queuing system which worked extremely well. Everyone was in good spirits, and everyone got home with the minimum amount of delay.”

Eastbourne Borough Council has announced the airshow will return next year from August 15-18. It is hoped the Red Arrows and the RAF, which was absent from the Western Lawns because of Olympic commitments, will be back for 2013.