The official Southend Airshow & Military Festival Bear has been on sale for nearly two months and has seen orders from all over the UK, and even from New Zealand!
Designed and produced by Service Sponsor Teddy Station, the official bear has everything he needs to take to the skies including a flying helmet with brown replica goggles, a brown leatherette jacket with a sheepskin collar, khaki shorts and proudly wears the Southend Airshow & Military Festival logo on his T-Shirt. However he lacked one thing – a name!
We launched a competition in conjunction with The Echo newspaper and Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome to find a name for our mascot. After working through the numerous entries, we are proud to announce that the winning name is Gibson.
The name Gibson was chosen to pay tribute to Guy Penrose Gibson Wing Commander of 617 Squadron, better known as the Dam Busters. 617 Squadron has recently retired from active duty and will return in 2015 as the first Squadron to fly the new Lighting II aircraft.
The winning name was selected by Marian Outram, Marian will receive her own Gibson bear to treasure, a tour of Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome and a flight in a Tiger Moth!
Marian had this to say on why she chose the name:
“I am so surprised that the name wasn’t chosen by a great many people. It just seemed so appropriate – especially with the 70th anniversary of the Dambusters. My first idea was Biggles, but that was far too obvious. Besides – our cat is called Biggles. There had been a program on TV that we had watched and of course it had mentioned the Dam Busters and Guy Gibson, and it just seemed so obvious a choice.“
“Last year the guys at work were talking about the Southend Air Show and how great it was. A couple of them were making plans to go and see it and I had to tell them it had been cancelled. They were very shocked and could not understand the council’s reasoning, as it was a brilliant tourist attraction. I am sure the fall out from the cancellation took them completely by surprise. I certainly wish you all good luck for the future.”
Thomas Curtis had this to say:
“As a new dad I know that picking a name is tough, we were amazed at the number of fantastic entries we received from the community and we wanted to take our time to find that was just right. Gibson is a fantastic name, Marian has chosen a name that is both original and a fitting tribute to one of the great Squadrons of the Royal Air Force.”
John Delaney added:
“We had hundreds and hundreds of entries for the competition with lots of fantastic suggestions but in the end “Gibson” stood out and also seemed the most fitting especially as we choose the winner on the last day 617 Squadron flew before the RAF disband the famous Dambusters Squadron.”
You can buy your very own Gibson online or by visiting the Teddy Station in the Victoria Shopping Center.