Mini event after main show chopped

PUBLISHED: 11:00 22 July 2011

Weston Helidays Helicopter Show on Weston Beach Lawns.; 25-7-09

Weston Helidays Helicopter Show on Weston Beach Lawns.; 25-7-09

Archant

HELICOPTER enthusiasts in Weston desperate to keep their cancelled annual show alive have grouped together to organise a smaller event.

Weston Super Mini-HeliDays will take place this weekend on Weston Airfield and will feature at least two Russian aircraft used by the Czech Republic Air Force.

The last-minute organisation comes after the axe fell on the larger Weston Super HeliDays earlier this year due to spiralling costs and a lack of grants.

The annual three-day event, which celebrated its 20th anniversary last year, was cancelled by charity HeliDays’92 after an increase in fees for bringing foreign crews to the country, plus rising costs for fencing, air safety and insurance.

The charity also lost an annual Weston Town Council grant and faced difficulty attracting support from town businesses to help reach the £25,000 required to stage the event.

This was despite the show attracting a record number of visitors last year.

But the organisers have bounced back, this week announcing that Mini-HeliDays will be held following ‘a last-minute rally’. The event will feature the two Russian aircraft and some other fly-in visitors.

Organiser Elfan Ap Rees, whose company AviaPress Associates is a main sponsor of the event, said: “We hope this mini-event will keep the HeliDays tradition alive and in fact this will be the first time the Czech Air Force has visited Weston.

“If all goes well they will be bringing a Mil Mi-17 assault helicopter and a Mi-24 Hind gunship – again another first for the town.

“A formidable opponent during the Cold War, the Hind is Russia’s answer to our own Apache attack helicopter.”

Entry to the Mini-HeliDays will be included in the normal Helicopter Museum admission charges.

The event will run from 10am-5.30pm on both Saturday and Sunday.

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