Eastbourne is to hold a Hot Air Balloon Festival in Hampden Park next summer.
The Friends of Hampden Park launched the festival, which is being sponsored by Gatwick, at the first Hampden Park Fun Day on Sunday which attracted more than 3,000 people.
Sandy Boyce-Sharpe, chairman of The Friends of the Hampden Park, said, “This started as an idea for a Friends Event to be held in Hampden Park for our members, the people who support us and those who use the park regularly.
“As soon as you say ‘hot air balloons’ to people they get very excited, not least of which was our MP Caroline Ansell.
“She has been instrumental in introducing us to Gatwick whose CEO Stuart Wingate has commented that they believe Eastbourne is a thriving town with similar interests to themselves in continued growth and can’t think of a more vibrant and colourful way to celebrate this than a Hot Air Balloon Festival.
“Their generous sponsorship has made this possible event a reality, and the interest has grown amongst balloonists to the extent we can now introduce it as an international festival for July 2017.
“We can’t thank Gatwick enough.”
Other business partners are coming forward to offer their financial support.
Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell said, “I am just delighted that Eastbourne is to reach for the skies with its own balloon festival in 2017.
“I pay tribute to the commitment of the Friends of the Hampden Park but most particularly their Chairman, Sandy Boyce-Sharpe, whose vision this is and to her tremendous energy in driving it forward.
“I was very pleased to play my part, securing £10,000 in Gatwick sponsorship of the event, so that Eastbourne can truly fly.”
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