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Red 2 Wows Home Crowd With Packed Beaches at 25th Eastbourne Airshow

21 August 2017

Packed crowds lined Eastbourne seafront over the 25th year of Airbourne to welcome local hero Red 2’s first ever home display with the Red Arrows.


RAF Red Arrows - SAC Rose Buchanan, MoD/Crown Copyright 2017

Eastbourne’s Flt Lt Toby Keeley performed to huge crowds and packed beaches with the team on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, as family and friends watched on in delight. Cockpit recordings released for the first time, also showed rolling routine footage from a Red Arrow cockpit, over Eastbourne on Friday.

The free four day festival enjoyed a successful turnout despite some changeable weather, with additional car parking added on Sunday to cope with demand. The packed programme also enjoyed some brand new displays from the Gyrocopter, Rich Goodwin Pitts Special and Strikemaster jet, while the F-16 made a welcome return for the first time in six years.

A surprise last minute addition of the evocative ‘Sally B’, the only flying B-17 in Europe, delighted warbird fans, following news of the grounding of the Lancaster and Hurricane from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

Another surprise guest included TV’s Aled Jones, filming at the show for a future edition of BBC Songs of Praise, to be broadcast in September.

Free films on the beach, including Disney’s Moana and Jungle Book, kept families entertained after flying each evening and on Sunday, thousands stayed to watch the glittering twilight pyro-aerobatics from the Fireflies and Twister teams, before a dazzling firework finale, sponsored by Frontier Fireworks.

Eastbourne Borough Council Lead Cabinet Member for Tourism and Enterprise, Cllr Margaret Bannister said “Superb displays and amazing crowds have made for a memorable 25th year of Airbourne. The fast jets were out in full force, and it was a proud moment to see Toby perform as Red 2 for his family over Eastbourne for the first time.

Our thanks go to the many volunteers and our partners, including the Emergency Services, in keeping Airbourne safe and secure for the hundreds of thousands of people visiting.

Work is already underway on Airbourne 2018, as we begin our aircraft bids in September.”

Volunteer bucket collectors were in force during the show, along with brand new Airbourne mascot Ace the AirBear, collecting donations and posing for photos. Funds will support both future Airbourne flying displays and three charities – Age Concern Eastbourne, Memory Lane and the Charles Hunt Centre.

With collections organised by Don Perman and Steve Newman of Sovereign Harbour Rotary Club, assisted by members of the Rotary Clubs of Eastbourne and Hailsham, work continues throughout the week to count in all of the donations.

The show is supported this year by Caffyns Volvo, Specsavers, More Radio, Boundless by CSMA, Frontier Fireworks, Harvey’s, Kier, Sussex Newspapers, Eastbourne Motoring Centre, Serco and Saxons Plants.

Airbourne returns from 16 - 19 August 2018, and exclusive seating is available to book now.

Fans can still donate at Eastbourne Tourist Information Centre in Cornfield Road, at the Seafront Office or online at where exclusive helmetcam and cockpit footage, including the Red Arrows, is also available to watch from the show.

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