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Assets sale spells the end for Lowestoft airshow

PUBLISHED: 08:11 14 March 2014 | UPDATED: 08:11 14 March 2014

BIG ATTRACTION: The Red Arrows help draw huge crowds to the Lowestoft seafront Air Festival.

Picture: James Bass

BIG ATTRACTION: The Red Arrows help draw huge crowds to the Lowestoft seafront Air Festival. Picture: James Bass

Archant (C) 2012

Any lingering hopes that the organisers of the Lowestoft airshow might resurrect the event have been dashed after it was revealed that a winding up process was under way.

Paul Bayfield, managing director of the Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival, has confirmed that the not-for-profit company behind the show is now in the process of selling off its few remaining assets.

It means that unless another group or person steps in to set up a new airshow, the hugely-popular seafront displays by the Red Arrows and other aircraft are set to become a fading memory.

The last airshow in the town was in 2012, but bad weather that year left organisers with a £60,000 gap in funding, which led to last year’s show being cancelled.

When the organisers failed to find the money for a wet weather contingency fund, Mr Bayfield and his directors were left facing the “painful” process of winding up the company and selling off its assets, such as show equipment and merchandise.

Mr Bayfield said: “It’s really hard for my fellow directors and I to accept, but in reality it is not going to be possible for our company to stage an airshow in the town again.

“Although we would really relish the challenge of resurrecting the event, the fact remains that we only have one or two isolated pockets of financial backing, albeit one very generous offer of £30,000, and disconcertingly we’ve experienced quite a lot of apathy.

“After weighing up all the pros and cons of keeping our assets in storage in the slim hope that there would be an upturn in our finances, we’ve had to accept that inevitably we need to start the winding up process.

“I think that all those who in any way helped to stage past airshows can all bask in the glory of what they did for the town, but as far as another airshow is concerned, with funding continuing to be so difficult to find, it would just not be viable.”

Mr Bayfield added: “The company first has to dispose of all the items it owned, including event equipment and unsold air show merchandise. Then we can discuss the dispersal of any remaining funds to appropriate local charities.“

The airshow began in 1997 and in 2004 Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival Ltd was set up to take over the two-day show, which had been previously run by Waveney District Council.

In 2012, the event was held at a weekend for the first time to avoid a clash with the London Olympics..

Waveney MP Peter Aldous said: “The airshow helped to put Lowestoft on the map and hopefully it has left a legacy. I’d like to pay tribute to all the organisers and volunteers who made the airshow a success over the years.”

■Air festival merchandise (T-shirts, caps and mugs etc) will be sold along with collectable Lowestoft airshow memorabilia at a table top sale at Colville House in School Road, Oulton Broad, next Saturday, March 22 from 10am to 1pm. All proceeds will go to Colville House, which hosts a youth club and other local groups.

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