Wet welcome fails to deter crowds

There was a wet welcome for the crowds on the final day of the Lowestoft Air Festival.After a spectacular firework display rounded off Thursday's events, rain and cloud settled along the seafront, forcing the cancellation of the Royal Jordanian Falcons' flight at the end of the day.

There was a wet welcome for the crowds on the final day of the Lowestoft Air Festival.

After a spectacular firework display rounded off Thursday's events, rain and cloud settled along the seafront, forcing the cancellation of the Royal Jordanian Falcons' flight at the end of the day. The RAF Jaguar was also grounded for the second day running because of a technical problem.

The afternoon programme was put back about 90 minutes because of poor visibility.

But despite the rain, about 70,000 spectators braved the steady drizzle and cloud.


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Those people who stayed were treated to an appearance by the Lowestoft lifeboat and Sea King helicopter, which had both been called away to a body in the sea on Thursday.

Poor weather did not prevent large numbers of people arriving early to claim a good vantage spot yesterday.

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Kathleen Thorpe, from Lowestoft, said she set up camp near the Claremont Pier at 8.30am to get a good view.

"We were disappointed about the Red Arrows but it's been a good show. It's been miserable weather but we are making the most of it."

David Parker, a trader selling both sunglasses and rainwear, said business had been good on both days.

"On the first day I sold a lot of sunglasses but today it's been good for brollies. I normally pack 200 umbrellas and I've sold about 100," he added.

Mairi McLean, chief executive of Waveney District Council, said the organisers would look at boosting the number of events on the ground next year to help keep visitors enter-tained if the weather was bad.

"I've been quiet impressed. People were not going home. I saw them putting up umbrellas and eating ice-creams.

"There was a lot of juggling of the acts but I don't think the public on the beach noticed – we didn't have the Red Arrows but I think they really enjoyed themselves."

She believed the show, which is supposed to become self-financing in two years, still had a future in the town.

This year has seen local firm Birds Eye contributing to the running costs as sponsor, and Ms McLean said she hoped the event would attract more corporate support.

"I think we should go on with it. People see it as a major event. It's been a superb operation. We are a very experienced team and it's been very smooth this year," she said.

nDrivers leaving Lowestoft via the A12 were held up after a collision between a van and a red Nissan Micra at about 4pm. The accident at the junction of Harris Avenue and Yarmouth Road caused tailbacks.

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