The world-famous Red Arrows will take to the skies above Herne Bay this summer as part of what has been billed Kent’s number one coastal airshow. As many as 50,000 people are expected to flock to the town for the event, with the popular RAF display team now set to take star billing after their appearance was confirmed. They will join an already-impressive line-up put together by organisers The Bay Promo Team, which raised £13,000 to secure their visit on Saturday, August 15. Also appearing at the Amy Johnson Memorial Airshow will be a 10-strong Great War Display Team, the Eurofighter Typhoon, Lancaster Bomber, Spitfire, Hurricane, de Havilland Vampire and a flypast by Tracey Curtis-Taylor. The Bay Promo Team launched an appeal to raise money to pay for the Red Arrows’ appearance but faced a nail-biting wait to see if their application – one of hundreds received by the RAF each year – would be approved. Confirmation was received from RAF bosses last Wednesday. The team’s Gerald McCarthy said:
“When I got the letter it felt like we had won the lottery, and that the town has won the lottery. The display team receives up to 800 applications each year from all over the UK and Europe, so to have them display along the Herne Bay coast this summer will be an historic first for the town. We felt the addition of Jane Priston to the air display organising team, with her Amy Johnson project links, helped get the attention of RAF officials when deciding on display locations in 2015.”
The event will commemorate record-breaking pilot Amy Johnson, whose plane crashed off the coast of Herne Bay in 1941. Mrs Priston has spent seven years researching Miss Johnson’s story and hopes it will inspire others to follow their dreams. Businesses and individuals from the town rallied round to raise almost the £13,000 for the Red Arrows display, while proceeds from the Bay Promo Team’s Sci-fi and music events will help fund other parts of the day. There is still time to get involved and sponsor the event. Mr McCarthy said:
“It’s fitting that Amy Johnson will get such a big event staged in her memory. With Folkestone being unable to stage an airshow this year, eyes will be on Herne Bay skies as Herne Bay stages Kent’s primary coastal air event – a great advertisement for the town. A big thanks to all of the businesses and people from the community that helped make the application possible. I’ve said before we have an enviable community spirit, and the town has demonstrated this once again.”
Preparations are already being made to close off the seafront to traffic with more than 50,000 people expected on the day. Mr McCarthy said:
“We think 50,000 is a conservative estimate because we had 20,000 at last year’s event with the awful wintry weather. This time we will get visitors and aviation fans from far and wide. There are going to be thousands of people in Herne Bay so it’s a great opportunity for the town to make the most of. Lots of visitors will come here for the first time and we want them to be so impressed they choose to visit again at different times of the year.”
The Amy Johnson Memorial Air Show takes place on Saturday, August 15. To find out more information visit www.baypromoteam.co.uk.
Herne Bay Gazette, March 19th 2015