Popular air show could return

A POPULAR fixture in the region's summer calendar could be returning to the local area after organisers announced plans for the return of one of Europe's biggest air shows.

A POPULAR fixture in the region's summer calendar could be returning to the local area after organisers announced plans for the return of one of Europe's biggest air shows.

But the Mildenhall Air Show, which in its heyday attracted 500,000 enthralled visitors, may be scaled down in the wake of the current global security fears.

Military chiefs at RAF Mildenhall have revealed they are looking to stage a community event next year - but have declined to speculate on any firm decisions.

One option would be to restore the popular air show to the market town for the first time since 2001.

First held almost 30 years ago to celebrate America's 200th birthday, the two-day event regularly featured almost 150 aircraft from more than a dozen nations before security fears elevated after the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers.

The air show had been cancelled since 2002 due to increased security tensions and major runway resurfacing work carried out this year.

Most Read

But with a bonanza for pubs, restaurants and hotels across the area in the offing, the local community has welcomed the news of the air show's possible return.

Beck Row Parish Council chairman Phillip Haylock said: "I am bit surprised that the show might be put back on but if the base thinks the security is right and the situation around the world is eased, then it would be great to put it on.

"Most people in the local community enjoyed the air show, the flying and having Mildenhall at centre stage for a while.

"The local economy also benefits with hotels full and shops busy - but businesses have been without the show for some while and they have coped."

But the air show is only one option and it is believed US officials are also looking at a scaled down event, possibly isolated to villages where American airmen live.

Col Richard Devereaux, commander of the 100th Air Refuelling Wing at the base, said it was important that something was done to show appreciation to people living near the base.

He told US newspaper Stars and Stripes: "We are planning on doing a big community relations event of some type in late spring or early summer.

"I think it is important that we do a big event here but cost is going to be a factor in any of the options we look at."

Col Devereaux said the base was now working with local authorities, Suffolk Police, the Ministry of Defence and USAFE before making a final decision in the next few weeks.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter