Eastbourne will turn light blue for this weekend (May 10-12) as the Royal Air Forces Association comes to town for its annual conference.
RAFA last came to Eastbourne for their annual conference in 2011. They brought 800 delegates to Eastbourne and more than half a million pounds to the local economy, by using the council’s inhouse accommodation service and supporting local businesses during their stay.
The annual conference is an important event for the RAF Association as it allows members from across the world to discuss, debate and resolve issues facing the RAF Family. Whist much of the weekend is taken up by debate and resolutions, there is also plenty of entertainment on offer for delegates. 2013 will bring a new dimension as the conference has a 1940s theme to celebrate the 70th Anniversary.
As delegates arrive on the Friday evening they will be treated to an evening of music from the Central Band of the Royal Air Force and 40s style entertainment by Dean Weedon. On Saturday the conference will be officially opened and delegates will enjoy addresses by amongst others, The Rt Hon Mark Francois MP (Minister of State for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans), Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton (Chief of the Air Staff) and triple silver medal winning Paralympian Jon-Allan Butterworth.
Saturday evening will see a 1940s-themed dance with the Dance Orchestra of the Central Band of the Royal Air Force featuring Flight Lieutenant Matt Little and singer Heather Marie McHale. To finish the weekend, there will be a parade starting at the Lifeboat museum at 9am Sunday; during which the Salute will be taken by the President of the RAF Association and the Mayor of Eastbourne.
Eastbourne Borough Council Cabinet Member for Tourism and Leisure Councillor Carolyn Heaps said, “We are delighted to welcome back the Royal Air Forces Association to our sunny town.
“They always enjoy themselves and put on a grand show for visitors and residents. The conference team have a had a great year so far with various conferences coming up and are thrilled to host the RAFA’s conference this weekend.”
1943 was a significant year for the RAF, not only did it herald the audacious and daring ‘Dambusters’ raids, it was also the year that the RAF Association was formed in its current guise. The RAF are delighted to be returning to Eastbourne for their 70th Anniversary Conference and hope that local people and holidaymakers will enjoy the spectacle.
To find out more about the RAF Association, please visit www.rafa.org.uk