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Red Arrows air display set to coincide with Folkestone's Armed Forces Day

By Sean Axtell

The Red Arrows are set to loop and twirl through Kent's sky this summer.

The Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team’s performance will coincide with Armed Forces Day on Sunday June 30 in Folkestone, according to official papers.

It comes after visitors complained last year’s 20 minute spectacle over the English Channel was too short – despite being free.

The Red Arrows display team over The Leas, folkestone, Sunday 22nd July, during the Folkestone air show. Picture: Barry Goodwin (3213533)
The Red Arrows display team over The Leas, folkestone, Sunday 22nd July, during the Folkestone air show. Picture: Barry Goodwin (3213533)

In response, Folkestone and Hythe District Council leader David Monk lamented “you just can’t please some people.”

Now, the district and town council are set to ring-fence £22,000 and £10,000 respectively to secure the display.

The council hopes the “flagship event” will attract tens of thousands of visitors and help boost the economy.

“The air display is a flagship event in the Folkestone calendar and one which draws enthusiasm from the local population as well as visitors from outside of the district.

“This funding will enable a 1-hour display which will encourage more visitors and enhance their experience,” council papers add.

The Red Arrows thrill the crowds at the Herne Bay airshow on Saturday. Picture: Chris Davey FM4891436 (4493935)
The Red Arrows thrill the crowds at the Herne Bay airshow on Saturday. Picture: Chris Davey FM4891436 (4493935)

Council officer Katherine Harvey’s report, recommended for approval at Wednesday's cabinet meeting, says combining the events will “add to the draw” of the town.

“Last year there were some comments suggesting disappointment at the length of the 20 minute display, which suggests a display of one hour would be more likely to meet visitor expectations.

“Also, by combining the air display with the Armed Forces Day events, which previously have been two separate occasions, will potentially add to the draw of visitors to the town.”

Criticism came after the Folkestone and Hythe RAF 100 screamed though the sky leaving a vapour trail of red, white and blue above the Leas last July.

Folkestone Red Arrows Display over The Leas .Crowds gather.Picture: Paul Amos. (3194714)
Folkestone Red Arrows Display over The Leas .Crowds gather.Picture: Paul Amos. (3194714)

The commemorative event also included the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight showing off the historic Lancaster Bomber, Spitfire and Hurricane, to celebrate the centenary year of the air force.

Cllr Monk told KentOnline on Monday: “You can’t please some people.

“There is a section of our society that has always got to find a negative.”

If approved, the world renowned aerobatic team’s appearance will be a UK rarity this year, with a string of dates confirmed for America and Canada.

Organiser Chris Yates from Headcorn Events said preparations are in place for a number of summer flypasts.

"We also have a number of flypasts throughout the summer which will pass Folkestone and the Battle of Britain Memorial," she said.

To find out what else is going on in Folkestone, click here.

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