This year’s Bognor Regis Armed Forces Day has been cancelled, it has been confirmed.
The hugely popular annual event, which includes band music, a parade and a flying display, will not now take place on June 25 as planned.
David Hewings, from the Bognor Regis branch of the Royal Air Forces Association (RAFA), which organises the event, said: “In a way we have become victims of our own success, because everyone said last year’s event was the best yet.
“It takes a huge amount to organise, more than a year to plan, so it’s not going to run this year.
“Hopefully it will return next year but we need people to come forward to help.”
Since its inception in the town six years ago, the Armed Forces Day has been organised principally by ex-service veterans with a lot of support from Bognor Regis Town Council.
Without the financial support that has come from them, the MOD, West Sussex County Council, parish councils and local businesses, the event would never have got off the ground, Mr Hewings said.
“As the event got bigger and better, we veterans were getting older,” he said.
Last year’s event, claimed by some to be the best ever, left the core committee exhausted and knowing they could not pull it off again.
“What is needed is a new management team, supported by us veterans rather than run by us.
“An attempt was made at the time to attract newcomers, but to no avail.
“As it takes at least a year to properly organise, the decision had to be taken to abandon Armed Forces Day 2016 with a view of getting a core committee up and running for 2017.
“This is being actively worked on, under the leadership of cllr Pat Dillon.”
The Bognor Regis RAFA clubs is looking for a management team of about three or four people, who they say they can guide through the process.
They do not have to be ex-service, but a chairman, a secretary, someone to coordinate the finances and a person to coordinate with ex-service organisations is required to keep the hugely successful event going in future years.
“If we are to continue with the air displays, and because they are over the sea, Bognor is ideally suited for such events, we now need an aviation professional to look after this.
“There is a lot more to an AFD than this, but we have the people who can take of that,” Mr Hewings said.
He added: “Bognor has a lot to offer visitors. Armed Forces Day, Rox and Bognorphenia, which have yet to reach their full potential, are events that have and can bring a lot of people to the town. What we need now is more active support.”
If you can help, contact the Bognor RAFA club on 01243 865615.
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