Air day takes off

THE sun shone and the crowds came out for Branscombe Charity Air Day and Classic Car Show on Sunday (July 25).

Families and car and aircraft enthusiasts descended in their thousands on Branscombe Airfield, at Higherlands Farm to see more than 90 visiting aircraft including a P-51 Mustang, the top fighter plane of the Second World War. A host of classic cars, such as MGs, Jaguars and Mazdas were on display and the VW Cabriolet Club attended.

The day raised �7,000, of which �4,000 will go to Children’s Hospice South West. The rest will be distributed between Devon Air Ambulance Trust, the Royal British Legion and projects in Branscombe.

Organiser and airfield owner David Hayman was bowled over by the success of the event. “We had 3,000 to 3,500 people through the gates and car parks were full,” he said. “We’ve had some fantastic feedback, people have been saying it’s the best air day they’ve been to.”

A Hawker Hunter Jet rounded off the air displays. “It had its full afterburner on and made a wild noise like a screaming banshee,” explained David. “It hurtled down the runway: absolutely awesome.”

This, and the crowd’s evident enjoyment of the day, were highlights for David. “As I walked around I saw so many happy faces, everyone seemed to be having a good day,” he said.

A classic Bentley owner added some quintessential Englishness to proceedings.

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David said: “He parked up, got out a table and chairs and everything you need for a picnic and settled for the day. He sat there in a suit and Panama hat under his umbrella and said ‘if you’re going to do something, best do it properly’. It was wonderful.”

The success of the show is a relief for David, after he was personally left �8,000 out of pocket after last year’s event due to poor turnout.

He said: “Last year, after making the loss, I thought ‘what’s all that about?’ But it’s a really good event and we’ll certainly continue to do it now. The show will go on.”