PICTURES: Crowds welcome Red Arrows to Sidmouth
- Credit: Archant
The Red Arrows were welcomed back to Sidmouth with massive cheers after a nine-year absence - despite weather conditions threatening to cancel the show.
Large crowds quickly made their way to The Esplanade after last-minute safety checks gave the aerobatic team the go-ahead to fly over the town.
Organisers said there are encouraging signs that the Red Arrows will return next year, because an army of some 100 volunteers gave up their evening to collect donations to fund a display in 2016.
Sidmouth Regatta Committee member Oliver Salter said the aerial display was a great way to lead into the regatta, which begins tomorrow (Saturday).
He added: “I think it is brilliant, it has given us the best chance of having them back next year. I want to thank everyone who donated, everyone who collected and all the businesses for their support.”
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Christopher Holland, Sidmouth’s town council clerk, said: “The council know putting something like this on is very much down to the weather. Last week six shows were cancelled.”
The weather-reliant performance was ‘touch and go’ until 10 minutes before take-off.
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Mr Holland praised the volunteers, who included members of Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce and the Air Training Corps (ATC).
Helpers were seen at points along the seafront - from Jacob’s Ladder up to Salcombe Hill.
Councillor Ian Barlow, who helped to lead the project to bring the Red Arrows back, praised the work of Oliver and Adele Salter and Keith Knight, of the regatta committee, for their years of dedication in organising the display.
Cllr Barlow said: “The town was packed considering the weather. It was lovely to have the Red Arrows back and that is due to the work of Oliver, Adele and Keith, and until now they have organised everything. At the end of the day, it is a lot for three people.
“There has been great community effort, but if people want the show to be the best then everyone needs to put something in.”
On the beach, spectators waved as the Red Arrows flew by along the length of the coast displaying a series of formations.
Samantha Bailey, from Sidbury, said: “They were really good, they really struggled with the weather this week. We used to come every year and see them. We never missed it.”
Robert Gliddon, of Gliddons toy shop in Sidmouth, said: “I am glad we saw them, which is better than many places this week.”
His son, Stephen, added: “I do remember seeing them before, it was a good day. It was really exciting.”
Joseph Fox, eight, from Sidbury, said: “I spoke to Red 10 and I got his picture and autograph. I also spoke to the ground crew.”