End of the runway.

As you know, a few months back we hit a roadblock in our 2015 event. Although most aspects of the event were proceeding apace (we had secured an great flight card including the Red Arrows and the last display of the Vulcan among others), we were forced to relocate the event due to unexpected costs from Southend Council and related services.

Since then we have been working all hours to locate a suitable venue both in and out of Southend for this years event. This was a controversial act however, we decided that not trying to save this event would have been a mistake and the fact that we were so close meant that we would have regretted not at least making the attempt.

I wish we could say today that we had secured that venue and we would have an Airshow this year but that is not the case. Although negotiations with great a location were developing, we could not get it signed by last Friday when a deadline placed upon us for RAF commitments expired.

This has been a two year project to return an Airshow to our seaside town. A labour of love that has meant evenings and early mornings. One that has taken hundreds of hours of our personal time away from friends and family (I remember being on the radio to promote the campaign on the due date of my first child.) and required vacations from work.

We now have to face the reality that although there may be other Airshows in Essex in the coming years, we will not have an Airshow in Southend.

Its been quite a journey, from two people and a Facebook campaign to  a team of nearly twenty and over twenty thousand supporters. To those that donated to the cause we thank you and we will we will donate that money to our nominated charities. To our sponsors I would like to thank you for your assistance and aid. To our community, I apologise for letting you down, it was your support that even made this crazy idea a remote possibility.

Though we were ultimately unsuccessful I stand by our effort, I still believe in Southend and think that is a fantastic town, one that has so much to offer. It is just a shame that we will not have a marquee event to promote it.

Thomas Curtis

Event location under review





Unfortunately due to circumstances beyond our control it is no longer possible to host the event with Southend, at least for this year. We are not giving up and have already started discussions with suitable venues yesterday, we hope to have an announcement in the next week or so.

As mentioned on BBC Look East the business case for the show in Southend just didn’t add up, we were facing high costs for marshaling, water support, policing & fire safety and road closures, that would have impacted the amount and quality of aircraft we would have featured at the show.

This decision is not an easy one to take but we had a choice, either cancel the event or seek an alternative venue where those costs could be controlled or reduced.

We thank you and our Sponsors for all the support in the last few years and hope that you’ll stay with us as we work to bring an airshow back to the South Essex area.

Save the date! The Airshow is back!

12-13th September chosen for the inaugural Southend Airshow & Military Festival has been set!

Southend Airshow Community Interest Company are proud to announce that the weekend of the 12-13th September 2015 will host the Southend Airshow & Military Festival.

A balanced and fully costed event that creates a solid foundation for the future…

Over the last six months the team dedicated themselves to one specific goal: making the 2015 show a reality by ensuring it is based on a solid financial foundation. We are delighted that we have achieved this and are able to launch an all new air spectacle in Southend that can be a feature of the Summer calendar for many years to come.

Unparalleled opportunity for companies…

Companies such as our Headline Sponsor, Toomey Motor Group have seen that Southend
Airshow & Military Festival offers the unrivaled chance to both promote your business to a diverse audience and support the local community. Southend Airshow & Military is a unique event that attracts over 300,000 people from all age groups and we are seeking companies that want access to this rare promotional opportunity. If your company is interested in joining the biggest event in the South East, contact us on sponsors@southendairshow.co.uk

Dan Rodgers, Event Manager had this to say on the launch of Southend Airshow & Military Festival:

“Its extremely exciting to see after 18 months of hard work behind the scenes that we are finally able to confirm a date and start to realise Tom and John’s dream and bring a fantastic people’s Airshow back to Southend”

Thomas Curtis, Director of Media and Communications commented:

“There is no doubt in my mind that Southend Airshow & Military Festival will be the highlight of Summer 2015, the team has worked incredibly hard over the last year and a half to create a fully costed, workable and sustainable event that Southend can be proud of and put the town on the map. We will have more announcements to come, but for now we hope the whole town is excited as we are that the Airshow is back!”

John Delaney, Director of Sponsorships and Partnerships added:

“Its been a long haul to get here and I am delighted we can now look forward to an Airshow in Southend for 2015. The event takes place on the recognized Battle of Britain weekend but the weekend of the 12th will also be the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. Its a great reminder of the British sprit to never give up no matter what the odds against may be, and our sponsors have made the return of the Airshow possible so my deepest thanks to all of them for supporting the return of the Airshow.

Headline Sponsors: Toomey Motors!

airshow_std_small_toomeyAnnouncing Southend Airshow & Military Festival Sponsored by Toomey Motor Group!

Leading car and commercial leasing chain joins Southend Airshow & Military Festival as Headline Sponsor!

Today we are incredibly excited to announce Toomey Motor Group as Headline Sponsor for Southend Airshow & Military Festival.

Toomey Motor Group, which have locations in Southend, Basildon and Orsett have agreed a wide ranging financial partnership with Southend Airshow & Military Festival that will ensure that Toomey Motor Group are the number headline brand at the event. Toomey Motor Group, who already Sponsor the RAF Typhoon Display Team, have understood the importance of Southend Airshow & Military Festival as an event that will raise awareness of their both themselves and the car brands they offer which include Renault, Nissan, Vauxhall, Dacia and Peugeot.

Whilst agreement with Toomey Motor Group is a significant one, there is still a need to raise further funds to allow the event to proceed as planned this year and Southend Airshow & Military Festival is keen to speak companies interested in becoming Sponsors.

Steve Decelis, Director of Toomey Southend had this to say:

“We have been infected by John and Tom’s enthusiasm for the event and when they approached us, we welcomed the opportunity to become involved. The local community is rightly proud of the Southend Airshow which brings many visitors to Southend from outside the area and as a local Company, employing 125 people, we are proud to demonstrate our commitment to the area and our support to the local community.”

He continued:

“The Airshow is one of the biggest events in the local community calendar, a great family event which also benefits local businesses. We are delighted to be able to play our part in promoting both the show and Toomey brand awareness.”

Thomas Curtis had this to say:

“We are incredibly excited to have Toomey Motor Group as Headline Sponsor, they have recognized the unique brand and advertising opportunity provided by Southend Airshow & Military Festival. Whilst we still have funds to raise ahead of the upcoming deadline, we will continue to work hard to get the event across the line.”

John Delaney added:

“Since we first started putting together the plans to bring back the airshow I’ve always believed we would be able to secure a headline sponsor due to the high profile and significance of the event and the opportunities it presents.

He continued:

“I am particularly pleased that a substantial local company like Toomeys has come forward to seize the opportunity presented by Southend Airshow & Military Festival. Toomeys is the leading commercial and consumer vehicle leasing provider in the region and highly regarded in the town. I am glad that the community and local businesses are coming together to support both the Southend-On-Sea and Southend Airshow & Military Festival.



Toomey Motor Group

In 1929 a young man by the name of Joseph Toomey, in true entrepreneurial spirit, opened a new business, Laindon Accumulators, in Laindon, Essex, selling motor cycles. Thus was born the Company which is so well known in Essex, as “Toomeys”. From this fledgling enterprise grew the Laindon Holdings Group of Companies.


The Royal Air Force Typhoon Display Team

The 2014 Typhoon Display is flown by 29 (Reserve) Squadron from RAF Coningsby. It showcases the incredible performance of the aircraft and also demonstrates the dedication, professionalism and excellence of the RAF personnel who fly, maintain and support Typhoon operations in the UK and across the world.


Southend Airshow and Military Festival

Southend Airshow started in May 1986 and is one of Europe’s largest free airshows, 2013 would have marked its 28th year. It was cancelled by Southend-On-Sea borough Council in 2013 and a small team of individuals are now working to return the event to Southend with private finance.


Southend Airshow CIC

Southend Airshow Community Interest Company was formed in July 2013 to create and run the Southend Airshow and Military Festival, it’s directors are John Delaney, Thomas Curtis and Nora Goodman MBE.


Airshow Bear name selected, meet Gibson!


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.“

She continued:

“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.

Donations page now live!


We are proud to announce that the Southend Airshow & Military Festival have partnered with BmyCharity and Help for Heroes to launch the official Southend Airshow & Military Festival donations page.

Bmycharity, which is owned by Help for Heroes has been providing an online fundraising service for charities for over 12 years making Southend Airshow & Military Festival the first ever Community Interest Company to be featured on the site. Donations made to the page will go towards the current 2014 event funding goal of £70,000.

There is just nine weeks to hit our target, we have raised an amazing £150,000 so far and are so close to achieving our goal, but we need to raise a further £70,000 or there will be no Airshow in 2014.

If we fail to meet the targets, the funds raised through donations will be allocated to our five chosen charities: Vulcan Restoration Trust, Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Families Association (SSFA), The Royal British Legion, RAF Benevolent Fund and Help for Heroes

We care deeply about Southend. Southend Airshow was a hallmark event for the town, it truly put Southend on the map and with your help it can do once again.

Thank you,

John & Tom

Southend Airshow & Military Festival

Sponsor packs now available!


Southend Airshow & Military Festival offers Sponsors access to a massive cross-section of the population in key demographics such as families and the 18-25 market. It is family-orientated event, which is larger than the British Formula 1 Grand Prix and draws a substantial footfall in excess of 400,000 people over the festival weekend, so the Airshow is the perfect event to market your company.

Southend Airshow & Military Festival can help you:

  •  Promote your brand experience to visitors
  •  Drive your brand by spreading your message to a diverse audience
  •  Provide nearly three miles to promote your brand and products to over 400,000 visitors attending the event weekend

Interested? View our all new Sponsor Pack or send an email to sponsors@southendairshow.co.uk!

To read more about press coverage of the announcement, visit the Echo website!

Win a flight in a Tiger Moth!

Name the Bear

December saw the launch of our first piece of merchandise, the official Southend Airshow & Military Festival Bear!

Designed and supplied by local business Teddy Station, the official bear is decked out in true pilot fashion, including a flying helmet with replica goggles and a brown leatherette flying jacket with sheepskin collar, khaki Shorts and proudly wears the Southend Air show & Military Festival logo on his T Shirt.

He is lacking on thing however, a name!

We are partnering with the Echo to launch the ‘Name the Airshow Bear’ competition! If your suggestion for the Bear is picked you can win a signed bear to take home, a free guided tour of Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome and a fabulous free flight in a Tiger Moth aircraft!

Visit the Echo website to take part!

Announcing the Airshow Bear!

When we started fighting to save Southend Airshow way back in January of this year, we stated that for the Airshow to return to the seafront it needed to change.

And so over the last eleven months that’s what we’ve been focussing on.

From moving the date of the event from May to September, seeking new partners, cutting costs and even setting up the Southend Airshow Community Interest Company – we have been working hard to change this event for the better.

However, for the Airshow to return next year, we need Sponsors to support the event, but we also need you our community to to help out, so today we are very excited to launch our Southend Airshow & Military Festival merchandise, starting with the Airshow Bear!


Designed and produced by local business Teddy Station, the official bear is decked out in true pilot fashion, 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.

The Official Southend Airshow & Military Festival Bear is the first merchandise item to be made available, and will soon be joined by mugs, key rings, canvas prints and more – so wherever you are you can show your support for Southend Airshow & Military Festival.

You can purchase the Official Southend Airshow & Military Festival Bear online or by visiting the Teddy Station in Southend’s Victoria shopping centre and costs £9.99, with all profits going to Southend Airshow & Military Festival.

Steve Kohler, owner of Teddy Station had this to say:

“My wife and I attended the very first Southend Air Show, when Concorde graced the sky above us I will never forget that moment, since then we attended the majority of the shows. And in in later years traded at the show with our make your own bear stand. Southend lost a huge amount of potential customers and tourists when the show was cancelled let’s hope we can bring them back and put Southend back on the map.”

Thomas Curtis had this to say:

“The launch of the Southend Airshow & Military Festival Bear combined with a range of exciting merchandise offers the many thousands of supporters a way to help us get closer to the 2014 event and get something fun in return.”

John Delaney added:

“It is fantastic news that another local company has stepped in to assist us by outlaying thousands of pounds to supply the official Airshow Bear for us to sell online & in local outlets. We are all delighted with the quality of the Bear which is so apt with his flight jacket, goggles, & Airshow T Shirt and I hope everyone does their bit by buying one for Christmas presents to help support us.”



Charitable beneficiaries announced!

Southend Airshow and Military Festival selects the Vulcan Restoration Trust as beneficiary!

Vulcan Restoration Trust among four other charities selected to benefit from Southend Airshow & Military Festival

Southend Airshow & Military Festival is proud to announce that the Vulcan Restoration Trust is to be a beneficiary of the event scheduled for 6-7th September 2014. The Vulcan Restoration Trust owns and maintains Avro Vulcan B2 XL426, based at London Southend Airport. The Vulcan Restoration trust has worked incredibly hard to maintain the much loved Vulcan and its a iconic part of Southend’s history.

The Vulcan Restoration Trust joins Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Families Association, The RAF Benevolent Fund, The Royal British Legion and Help for Heroes as charities selected to benefit from Southend Airshow & Military Festival. The chosen charities will receive a percentage of the profits generated from the 2014 event and beyond.

Steve Barnes, Membership Secretary of the Vulcan Restoration Trust had this to say:

“I am delighted that The Southend Airshow & Military Festival is supporting the Vulcan Restoration Trust by donating part of its profits from the event to the Trust. This support highlights the need to preserve the Southend Vulcan as an iconic aircraft from our military history and as an important symbol of British aviation engineering. The Vulcan Restoration Trust exists solely on charitable donations and its own fund raising so support such as this is crucial to the continued preservation and operation of the Southend Vulcan.”

Thomas Curtis had this to say:

“Southend Airshow & Military Festival is more than just creating an event, its about giving back to the community. The Vulcan restoration trust is a team of dedicated enthusiasts works hard to keep a part of our nations military heritage in working order and we couldn’t be more pleased to support them. 

John Delany added:

“The Vulcan Restoration Trust are doing a fantastic job maintaining & restoring the iconic Vulcan Bomber XL426 at Southend Airport. It was a natural fit to highlight & support them keep this piece of aviation history in our town.”