RAF Abingdon traditionally held annual Airshows in September and these were a hugely popular event with both the local community as well as with people from further afield. When the RAF pulled out, these shows ceased. Our event was created back in the year 2000 to put something back into the community and has always been billed as a family day out at an affordable price. The 2000 event was nothing more than a small Fete and broke even financially but with perseverance the show has grown into what is now a major event on the region’s calendar.
Thames Valley & Chiltern Air Ambulance Trust recieved a total generated by the show in 2016 of £8,000 – so thats now total of £68,095.70 to the Air Ambulance since 2007, a further £14,000 to Douglas House Respice Centre (2001 – 06), £500 to Lily Gulshat Fund, £500 to Heyford Park community centre, plus a further £1000 from 2014 to the Gabriel Masih fund (has diplegia cerebral palsy and needs a life changing operation) and approx (still being verified) £800+ to localised Air Training Corp units that have helped us over time.
To explain abit more in detail, the show is not funded and we are all non paid volunteers. From the start, we have had to rely on stall fees, gate admission fees and very little sponsorship to cover the costs of the show. In 2001, the show was merely £4,000 approximately as it was still very much in its infancy and a fifth of the size. Fast forward to 2016s show,it cost us £87,000 approximately to stage the event. So over time we have had to cross our fingers in the hope the weather plays ball and hope for a reasonable crowd number.
So the procedure is, out of what is made on the day, all the bills are paid (which is a minimum now of £82,000 +), then we have to decide what donation figure to give to our chosen charity, then we keep the rest back in the show account to build and help kick start the following years show and over time we have managed to gather enough funds at the moment to sustain one very wet show, so if we had two successive wet shows then it could be the end of the show. We would dearly love to give so much more to our chosen charity, but again, if we gave a lot more then we run the risk of not staging a show the following year.
Some items / figures as per 2017 quotes are listed, to give you an idea of what we have to pay out or book in:
Airfield Licence from Defence Estates – £11,300
Airfield Fire cover – £3,500
Medical coverage – £1,800
Public Liability Insurance cover (£25 million pound required) – £10,250
Toilets x 55 minimum – £2,600
Radio Hire – £400
Communications – £2,200 +
Mobile Air Traffic Control tower – £900 +
Marquee hire – £1,000 +
Infrastructure ie fencing / floodlights – £2,150 +
Flying Displays – various aircraft vary in cost but range from £400 to £7,000 per aircraft.
Specialist people ie: Flying Display Director – £1,000 +
Ground demos ie: Marching Band – £1,000 +
Security – £5,000 +
Temporary Traffic Road Order (road closures) – £2,000+
The list goes on – but you can see by the above few items the expenditure soon starts to build.
However, we are proud that the show is surviving in today’s economic climate, though for future shows we are seeking commercial sponsorship to help as this is a purely volunteer-organised show with limited funding, and our overheads are increasing each year. Any financial help is appreciated.