Date confirmed for Red Arrows’ return

The Red Arrows at Sidmouth. Ref shs 5774-35-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife

The Red Arrows at Sidmouth. Ref shs 5774-35-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

The Red Arrows will be back in pride of place to kick off Sidmouth’s regatta weekend this summer.

The Red Arrows at Sidmouth. Ref shs 2885-35-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife

The Red Arrows at Sidmouth. Ref shs 2885-35-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Civic leaders have secured the return of the aerobatic display team for the evening of Friday, August 26, although the exact time is still to be confirmed.

And with some notable air shows not happening this year, tourists are expected to flock to the seafront for another stellar performance from the RAF team.

Town clerk Christopher Holland said: “It’s just before the regatta weekend – it’s exactly when we wanted them.

“There’s no Dawlish Air Show this year and there are a few others they aren’t coming to. We are one of very few displays in the South West.”

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Buckets were rattled and the gathered crowd donated £6,000 when the Red Arrows returned to Sidmouth for the first time in nine years last year, despite a low cloud preventing a full display.

That sum was matched by Sid Valley businesses and another £1,000 was donated to an online crowd-funding campaign.

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The town council underwrote the cost of last year’s display to the tune of £15,000. Now it has budgeted a £6,000 emergency fund to secure its future.

Mr Holland added: “People were very generous last year. We will be asking residents and businesses to dig deep again this year – we want this to be an annual thing.”

Council vice chairman Ian McKenzie-Edwards said: “It was jolly good of them to come last year, but the display was a bit of a disappointment [due to the weather] - we all know what sort of display they normally put on.

“Undoubtedly it’s an extra attraction for the town. We don’t wany any low cloud or rain!”

Last year’s display was held on August 21, a week before Sidmouth Regatta, but this summer it will immediately precede the festivities of August 27 and 28.

Keith Knight, one the event’s organisers, said: “It’s excellent news. It will be a good start to the weekend – we just have to hope it will stay dry this year.

“It’s all down to Christopher Holland and the town council for requesting that the Red Arrows come back.”

He added that grants to the regatta, the Lions Club of Sidmouth’s Duck Derby and others show the council is committed to supporting the events that fill the town’s calendar.

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