Top attractions ready to take flight

The Blades are coming to Eastbourne's Airbourne festival
The Blades are coming to Eastbourne's Airbourne festival

THE 20th Airbourne festival gets underway on Thursday – minus the Red Arrows but boasting a string of stop display teams.

Having instead opted for a fly by over Red Square in Russia, the crowd favourites will be conspicuous by their absence this weekend .

However, organisers of the annual show are confident there will still be enough in the line-up to attract the thousands of people who usually attend the event.

Top of the bill is the Vulcan bomber, which Eastbourne Borough Council recently forked out £12,000 to secure for a Saturday slot.

There will also be appearances from a Sea King, the ever-popular Breitling Wingwalkers, a Tornado GR4 and a Messerschmitt.

And the show-stealing Battle of Britain Memorial Flight team will once again take to the skies over Eastbourne.

One thing which is certain is that the Western Lawns, Wish Tower slope and the seafront prom stretching up to the pier will be jam packed with stalls, games and side shows, including a special children’s fun area on the beach.

A main arena will once again host a series of demonstrations, including slots from the Royal Marines who will be showing off their combat skills and the popular Essex Dog Display team – both of which always go down a treat with the crowds.

Vintage military vehicles will be on display in Wilmington Square and celebrity hairdresser Jal Clarke will be bringing his Street Styling Tour to town with live musicians, and also cutting hair for donations towards Airbourne.

Sunday’s closing ceremony will include a firework display on the beach at the eastern end of the promenade from 10pm after a stint from The Tigers parachute display team at 7pm.

Entry is free although revellers are encouraged to give generously to bucket collectors – with Friday’s Herald carrying a warning from volunteers that unless people cough up some loose change, the future of Airbourne is a bleak one. They have appealed for everyone to donate £1 to help cover costs, with 30 per cent of money raised going to the local RNLI.

Eastbourne Borough Council’s head of tourism, Councillor Neil Stanley said, “With such a great range of free interactive exhibits this year, Airbourne remains a great value, top family day out.

“Our thanks go to all three armed services for their support of the event in providing fabulous ground displays and some amazing flying in the air.”

Parking is available at Five Acre Field costing £3 per car with a bus service running to and from the pier.