Published: 17:00, 17 March 2017
The Red Arrows will return to Kent this summer, it has been announced today.
The iconic RAF aerobatics team have confirmed they will be back in the county for the spectacular airshow in Herne Bay, now known as the Southeast Airshow, in August.
It will be the third time the crew have taken to the skies in the seaside town, with around 80,000 watching in awe last year.
The event, organised by the BayPromoTeam, made national news last year when a Turbulent Display Team plane ditched into the sea, with the pilot miraculously escaping serious injury after spectators waded in to help him.
After the huge successes of 2015 and 2016, there was some doubt surrounding the airshow this year, but fears have now been put to rest.
Organiser from BayPromoTeam Gerald McCarthy said: "To have the Red Arrows along with all these amazing aircraft back for a third year is something very special.
"With big airshow players such as Biggin Hill and Eastbourne bidding for the same aircraft for the same weekend, we had our doubts, but the fact we've secured them says something about the scale of the event we've grown here in Herne Bay.
"The last two airshows have boosted the local economy by almost four million pounds, and when coupled with a truly breathtaking spectacle for Herne Bay, this is no doubt a win-win for the town.
"There are so many groups, clubs, and charities that are able to raise many thousands of pounds as a result of this event too which is fantastic."
Mr McCarthy says they hope to have other aircrafts such as the Sea Vixen and de Havilland Vampire and they are waiting to find out whether they have secured the Chinook display.
There is also talks about the Belgian F-16 Solo Display Team making an appearance.
A twilight pyrotechnic display from the Aerosparx team is an extra special addition to this year's line-up.
To finish off the incredible event, Rubber Biscuit, celebrating their 25th year in music, will perform live on stage, and American Four Tops band will also make up the evening entertainment.
But Mr McCarthy had some serious words ahead of the event.
He told KentOnline: "We've lost a sizable piece of funding previously available to us, and for this event to be the spectacle we all want to see, we'll need the financial support of the community to get over the line.
"We'd urge businesses to contact us for details of advertising and sponsorship opportunities of what is Kent's biggest one-day event.
"We'll be asking local schools to generously help once again, and residents planning on enjoying this free seafront event can donate any amount, large or small.
"Community support is vital to keep this remarkable event we get to see and be proud of, alive and well."
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