Air festival is a soaraway success!

WITH almost half a million people through the gates, the 10th anniversary Lowestoft Air Show was undoubtedly the biggest and best ever. But despite the record 430,000 visitors over yesterday and Thursday, managing director Graham Cooke last night still wanted more and set his sights on making the show the biggest in Europe.

WITH almost half a million people through the gates, the 10th anniversary Lowestoft Air Show was undoubtedly the biggest and best ever.

But despite the record 430,000 visitors over yesterday and Thursday, managing director Graham Cooke last night still wanted more and set his sights on making the show the biggest in Europe.

In the midst of a magnificent summer, the show was a crowning moment for Waveney's tourist industry, with a record numbers of visitors filling the accommodation not only in Lowestoft but also in the surrounding area.

The business community was also celebrating the continued success of the show, which is worth an estimated £11.2m to the local economy.


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But while organisers were crunching numbers, formulating statistics and counting the cash, visitors just laid back in the sunshine and enjoyed another glorious show.

Crowd pleasers the Red Arrows, once again received huge applause from the audience, with their stunning opener paving the way for another four hours of awesome displays.

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As the record visitor numbers were announced, Mr Cooke said: “I was hoping for 400,000 so to get 430,000 is spectacular, it just shows the faith people in this town have in this show.

“At the moment it is the fourth biggest air show in Europe, my ambition is that will we be the biggest and best, and when we have done that I will rest easy.

“In 10 years it has grown from an acorn into an oak tree, and we really are an oak tree this year. This year we have really shown how great and professional this show is.”

Linda Thornton, of Lowestoft and Waveney Chamber of Commerce, said: “From a business perspective the air show is tremendous for the local economy, because there is much more activity in the shopping areas. Generally everybody I have spoken to, including a number of the larger companies, have said how good it has been for them.

Darren Newman, acting service manager for tourism at Waveney, said: “Hotels, guest houses and holiday parks across the district were all full on Thursday and Friday, with the majority of people staying over the weekend, leading to increased spending in local services and attractions.”

However, last night organisers were not yet able to confirm that there would be a show next year.

Mr Cooke said: “I'm absolutely hopeful we will have a show next year, indication so far from the collectors is we have done better than last year, but whether we have collected enough to say yes we will definitely have a show next year remains to be seen.

“So far we have counted £51,000 from donations on the gates, which is better than this time last year when we collected £52,000 in total. But I'm still a little disappointed, with 430,000 people, even with last year's low ratio we would expect to have collected £60,000 or £70,000.”

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