Herald Comment: Airbourne is an event the whole of Eastbourne can be proud of

AIRBOURNE got underway yesterday and despite a late start due to mist and the absence of the show-stealing Red Arrows, this weekend will no doubt prove an overwhelming success.

Thousands of people will take to the streets of Eastbourne over the next few days to enjoy the country’s biggest free air show. The Red Arrows might not be here, but there is still plenty on offer – including the much-anticipated appearance by the Vulcan bomber.

And let’s not forget those loveable mutts from the Essex Dog Display Team.

Airbourne is something the entire town can be proud of, but it is just the tip of the iceberg.

So much is being done to make Eastbourne a better and more enjoyable place to live or visit.

This year we have already had Eastbourne Extreme, The Lammas Festival, the Sunshine Carnival, the tennis tournament and the Olympic Torch relay visit. Each event appeals to different people and each have been hugely successful.

In these tough times, seaside resorts have to do everything they can to set themselves apart from the competition and Eastbourne is doing more than most.

Airbourne is perhaps the town’s flagship event. The tennis may beat it in terms of international attention, but for sheer visitor numbers, Airbourne always comes out on top.

But, as our front page warned last week, everything costs money – even free air shows.

The people behind the collection buckets want £1 from everyone who goes.

That’s not a lot for an entire weekend of fun. In fact, if you go to each session it works out at just 25p a day.

Most of the hard work behind organising and funding Airbourne is carried out by local hoteliers and they deserve all our thanks.

Their hotel beds would be in demand this weekend with or without Airbourne. They don’t gain a lot from it, but they work extra hard so that we all benefit.

It is people like that who are making Eastbourne such a wonderful place.