GENEROUS revellers donated a massive £33,600 at Airbourne – more than double last year’s total.
Thousands responded to a last-minute plea in the Herald from volunteers who asked anyone going to the four-day aeronautical showcase to drop a £1 coin into collection buckets.
As well as safeguarding the immediate future of the ever-popular event, the sky-high collection means the local RNLI can expect a bumper cheque of around £10,000, because 30 per cent of the takings go to the organisers’ chosen charity – this year was Eastbourne lifeboat.
The small army of bucket waving volunteers was organised by the Eastbourne Hospitality Association (EHA) and its spokesman Marco Giorgi was over the moon with the outcome.
He said, “For the first time this year, people have understood Airbourne is an event which needs financial support and if everyone gives just £1 to a bucket, then the event is viable.
“The four-day event is an amazing attraction and brings lots of visitor spending and revenue into our town, but Airbourne costs a huge amount and no council could ever commit to covering its total cost.
“We’re grateful to the Herald for getting this message across and supporting our plea for donations. More than ever before responded to the appeal and were happy to give £1. After all £1 doesn’t buy a lot these days and Airbourne is a fantastic day out.
“Seventy per cent of each £1 goes directly towards the cost of flying displays and 30 per cent to the EHA’s chosen charity, the RNLI. The total amount raised this year made a significant contribution to the cost of Airbourne and has ensured the event will continue in 2013.
“We hope everyone will get their £1s ready to donate again next year so we can make sure Eastbourne keeps Airbourne.”
It was a sentiment shared by the town’s MP, Stephen Lloyd, who also wanted to thank Mr Giorgi and his team for their hard work. “The work of all the volunteers collecting money over the weekend was just brilliant,” he said. “They did an amazing job. Eastbourne works so well when we all pull together and the incredible amount raised this year proves that in spades.”