Air Festival and Armed Forces Days ‘a massive success’

PUBLISHED: 13:26 23 June 2016 | UPDATED: 13:26 23 June 2016

Royal Marine Commandos unarmed combat demonstration.

Royal Marine Commandos unarmed combat demonstration.

Archant

Wind and drizzle did not dampen the spirits of families and aeroplane enthusiasts who flocked to Weston-super-Mare’s seafront for the annual air festival.

Carol Hughs and Sally Dickson from Weston Museum with Robin Armstrong and James Dibiase from the 1st Battalion Royal Warwickshire historical regiment.Carol Hughs and Sally Dickson from Weston Museum with Robin Armstrong and James Dibiase from the 1st Battalion Royal Warwickshire historical regiment.

The ever-popular Red Arrows and booming sound of the Typhoon thrilled the crowds during the two-day spectacle.

The Beach Lawns were packed with Royal Marines, Paratroopers and members of the army cadets who gave demonstrations and spoke about the work they do.

The poor weather meant there were a couple of cancellations to the flight schedule on Saturday, but the Red Arrows still took to the skies, although they were unable to deliver their full display due to the low clouds.

North Somerset Council estimated around 90,000-100,000 filled the seafront and Beach Lawns on Saturday.

But the poor weather on Sunday meant nine flights did not go ahead, and visitor numbers dropped to around 30,000-40,000.

Seafront events manager Darren Fairchild said: “Saturday was fabulous with really good crowds and good flying displays.

“Unfortunately the weather was not as favourable on Sunday, and most of the planes were grounded due to poor weather in other parts of the country.

“I think it was a massive success, but unfortunately there was a damp end.

“The Typhoon was absolutely superb. I was desperately trying to find a replacement for the Vulcan, and I was taken aback by how loud the Typhoon was.”

On the armed forces side, the displays and music performances went ahead despite the rain, and it is estimated Saturday saw a similar number of visitors to last year.

The Royal Marine Commandos proved to be a crowd-pleaser, with their unarmed combat display.

Garry Hawkes, armed forces co-ordinator for the council, said: “The armed forces part of the event stoically continued despite the rain and people surprisingly stayed there, and carried on watching.

“The whole thing was really well-attended, and I would like to applaud the public who stayed even though the weather was bad and showed good support to our armed forces.

“I would like to thank the armed forces day organising team, as they are all volunteers and worked their socks off to make it happen.”

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