Change of date for Red Arrows

The spectacular Red Arrows pictured performing at Lyme Regis. Ref shs 8629-31-12AW. Picture: Alex Wa

The spectacular Red Arrows pictured performing at Lyme Regis. Ref shs 8629-31-12AW. Picture: Alex Walton - Credit: Archant

Civic leaders have unanimously agreed to underwrite the £15,000 cost of bringing the Red Arrows back to Sidmouth – after the project leader swore to raise two-thirds of that cost.

The aerobatic team, who had originally given a provisional date of Thursday, August 27, are now set to make their long-awaited return at 6.30pm on Friday, August 21.

The cash will come from the town council’s Woolley Bequest – a fund meant to enhance the community – before it looks to recoup some of the cost from businesses and residents.

Speaking at a meeting on Monday, project leader Councillor Ian Barlow said: “It’s a community event that brings the whole town together.

“The maximum cost is £15,000 – I will fail if I don’t get another £10,000 towards it.

“The plan was to get a third from businesses, a third from the Sid Vale Association and the council would be liable for the last third.

“Anything raised would go to the next year’s event.”

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A model of splitting the cost three ways already successfully funds the Hopper Bus.

Cllr Barlow will also work with sailing club members, who are experienced fundraisers from their long list of successes bringing the Red Arrows to the regatta weekend until 2006.

And where they struggled to raise the £15,000 needed every year, he hopes the Woolley Bequest can give the council the head start it needs to make the display an annual event.

“It’s a huge amount of money for very few people to get together,” said Cllr Barlow. “If we can get a year ahead I think it’s very do-able.”

Tourism committee chairman, Cllr Simon Pollentine, congratulated Cllr Barlow for his efforts and said: “It will be incredible to have them back.”

County councillor Stuart Hughes has committed some money from his locality budget towards the cost.

He told the meeting that more money could be raised by managing a park and ride system. The chamber of commerce has also offered to get bodies out rattling buckets on the day.