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Old Buckenham Air Show makes history with biggest ever crowds

Old Buckenham Airshow. ANL-150108-215626005
Old Buckenham Airshow. ANL-150108-215626005

Old Buckenham Air Show made history at the weekend as record crowds flocked to the famous airfield, in an “absolutely wonderful” tribute to war veterans and one of the area’s best-known pilots.

The event gained a rapturous reception over its two days, with thousands of aviation enthusiasts enjoying dozens of exhibitions and aerial displays, undeterred by the issue of a water main which burst on Saturday.

Chief among the attractions, which were set around the theme of ‘Celebrating America’, was the first ever reunion of actress Honor Blackman, who played Pussy Galore in the James Bond movie Goldfinger, and the Hiller helicopter she flew during the film.

Airfield manager and show organiser Matt Wilkins said the event had been a fitting way to remember the 453rd Bombardment Group of the 8th US Air Force, which was based at Old Buckenham during the Second World War, and the late David Jenkins, a veteran pilot who died following an aircraft crash at a practice event in April.

He said: “By far and away, it was the biggest air show we have ever had. The rate of growth is phenomenal. It couldn’t have gone any better.

“It was a highlight of my life, being able to put Honor Blackman back into the helicopter. To have had just the helicopter would have been a huge coup for us, but I cannot emphasise enough how wonderful it was to have Honor around. It will be very hard to top that next year.”

Other attractions included tank and monster truck rides, a classic car exhibit, a funfair and a 1940s-style dance, which all went ahead despite a sudden burst pipe that caused a total loss of water pressure at the airfield’s new toilet block.

“We have had well over a hundred congratulatory messages,” Mr Wilkins added.

“When we started planning the show, we wanted to honour America. Then it became about paying tribute to David Jenkins. I have a very kind message from his family about all the appreciation for him.

“The show was about these two things, and we have certainly achieved both. You can’t beat that.”

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