Red, white and blue fills the sky as Arrows return

Red Arrows at Sidmouth 2016. Ref shs 34-16TI 6365. Picture: Terry Ife

Red Arrows at Sidmouth 2016. Ref shs 34-16TI 6365. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

A 25,000 strong crowd crammed on to Sidmouth seafront to get front row seats to welcome back the Red Arrows.

Roads came to a standstill as spectators cheered as the nine BAE System Hawk T1 planes roared through the skies last Friday.

Spectators watched the aerobatic team complete a full routine of synchronised loops and daring formations.

Visitors dug deep to fill the collectors tins, with organisers raising more than £11,000 to cover the costs to bring back the display team next year.

Sidmouth town clerk, Christopher Holland, said: “This is a tremendous achievement. I am already in the process of enquiring and asking them to return for the same weekend in 2017.”

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Squadron leader Mike Ling flew into the town shortly before the display to check the conditions and was transported to the seafront in the Toastrack.

He was welcomed by a crowd of all ages who had headed to the beach early to enjoy the summer sun and sea before the display.

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Mr Holland said: “That was a great thing about it. There was a range of ages all buzzing with excitement before and after the display. The way people were talking about it after. They all had a good time.

“That’s what a town council is about, its not just about mundane things such as providing litter bins and dog bins, its about promoting a way of life and making people happy about where they live and where they visit.”

He praised the ‘community effort’ in the run up to the effort and thanked Oliver Salter, from Sidmouth Regatta, and the collecting volunteers, which included members from Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce and the air cadets.

Councillor Jeff Turner, chairman of the town council added: “It was fantastic evening, it was a great day and the Red Arrows were the crown.

“I’m delighted as chairman of the town council to have brought the Red Arrows back to Sidmouth and delighted that it was a success.”

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