EASTBOURNE

Beauty is all around us, in the landscape and the oceans and skies...

 

 

Eastbourne is a medium-sized town in East Sussex, on the south coast of England, with a population, according to the 2001 Census, of around 90,000. Created almost from scratch during the 19th Century, it soon became a prime seaside resort, but has since suffered from the general trend away from taking holidays within the UK.

 

Geographically, Eastbourne is situated at the very end of the South Downs, and boasts the famous Beachy Head cliff, as well as extensive beaches. Trains leave from London Victoria to Eastbourne with a journey time of around 1hr 30mins. Local rail services also serve Brighton to the west and Hastings and Ashford, Kent to the east.

 

 

 

Eastbourne, East Sussex

 

 

Reputation

 

The town promotes itself as "The Sunshine Coast", and often claims the highest recorded hours of sunlight, producing a rivalry with the larger coastal resorts of Bournemouth and Weymouth. To many people, however, Eastbourne is more readily associated with the elderly, as it has historically been a popular retirement destination, and it is often referred to in age-related jokes. The 2001 census showed that it still has a larger than average over-60 population[1], although recent major housing developments have been aimed mainly at young families, and the provision of adequate schooling has become a key local issue.

 

The seafront at Eastbourne is distinctive in having no garish shop fronts opening onto it, the road being almost entirely populated by Victorian hotels. This is because much of Eastbourne has traditionally belonged to the Duke of Devonshire, who retains the rights to these buildings and does not allow them to be developed into shops. Along with its pier and bandstand, this serves to preserve the front in a somewhat timeless manner. Eastbourne has several remaining Martello Towers and a fort from the same era.

 

One feature that has always been heavily promoted is Eastbourne's floral displays, most notably the "Carpet Gardens" along the coastal road near the pier. These displays, and the town as a whole, frequently win awards — such as the 'Large Coastal Resort' category in the 2003 Britain in Bloom competition.

 

 

 

Clock tower on Eastbourne railway station

 

 

HISTORY

 

The area around Eastbourne is known to have been settled throughout history - artefacts dating to the Stone Age have been found in the surrounding countryside, and there are both Roman and Anglo-Saxon sites within the modern boundaries of the town; some even speculate that it was a major Roman settlement. However, it remained an area of small rural settlements until the 19th Century, with 4 villages or hamlets occupying the site of the modern town: Bourne (or, to distinguish it from others of the same name, East Bourne), surrounded the "bourne" (stream) which rises in what is now Motcombe Park, and is now known as Old Town; Meads, where the Downs meet the coast; South Bourne; and the fishing settlement known simply as Sea Houses.

 

By the mid-19th Century most of the area had fallen into the hands of two landowners: John Davies Gilbert (the Davies-Gilbert family still own much of the land in Eastbourne and East Dean) and William Cavendish, Earl of Burlington. Encouraged by the growing appreciation of the seaside sparked by Richard Russell's assertion of its medicinal benefits some decades earlier, these were to oversee the creation of "the empress of watering places". An early plan, for a town named "Burlington", was abandoned, but in 1849 the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway arrived, and the town's growth accelerated. Cavendish, now the 7th Duke of Devonshire hired Henry Currey in 1859 to lay out a plan for what was essentially an entire new town — a resort built "for gentlemen by gentlemen". The town grew rapidly — from a population of less than 4000 in 1851 to over 22000 by 1881 — and in 1883 was incorporated as a "municipal borough"; a purpose-built town hall was opened in 1886.

 

 

Eastbourne pier railings freshly painted blue

 

 

 

Eastbourne pier is now a shadow of its former self, just one more step towards decline, if the town is not careful.

 

 

This period of growth and elegant development continued for several decades, but World War II saw a change in fortunes: initially, children were evacuated to Eastbourne on the assumption that they would be safe from German bombs, but soon they had to be evacuated again. Pilots wishing to off-load unused munitions before crossing the channel found such coastal towns useful targets, and many original Victorian buildings were damaged or destroyed.

 

After the war, development continued, including the growth of Old Town up the hillside and the housing estates of Hampden Park (above the park itself, named after Viscount Hampden, whose grandson sold the land to the council), Willingdon Trees and Langney. Throughout the 20th Century, there were controversies over the loss of historic landmarks or natural features, and over particular buildings, such as the glass-plated TGWU headquarters on the sea-front, and the 22-storey "South Cliff Tower". In 1981, a large section of the town centre was replaced by the indoor shops of the Arndale Centre.

 

In the 1990s, however, both growth and controversy accelerated rapidly as a new plan was launched to develop the area known as the "Crumbles", a shingle bank on the coast to the east of the town centre. This area, now known as the "Sovereign Harbour" and containing a marina, shops, and several thousand houses, was formerly home to many rare plants. Together with continued growth in other parts of the town, and the taming of the central marshland known as the "levels" into farmland and nature reserves, this has turned Eastbourne into the centre of a conurbation, with the appearance from above of a hollow ring.

 

 

Eastbourne bandstand

 

Eastbourne seafront bandstand

 

 

Events

 

Eastbourne is home to the Women's tennis tournament which is traditionally seen as the warm-up to Wimbledon, and attracts many of the same players. Confusingly, this is currently sponsored by a local insurance company based in Bexhill-on-sea, but it is called the "Hastings Direct International Championships".

 

A major event in the tourist calendar of Eastbourne is the annually held 4 Day, International Air Show, 'Airbourne'. Started in 1994, based around a long relationship with the Red Arrows display team, the event features Battle of Britain memorial flights, and aircraft from the RAF, USAF and many others.

 

 

POLITICS

 

Politically, Eastbourne is a local government district.

 

It was made a municipal borough in 1883, and gained county borough status in 1911. Since 1974 and the Local Government Act 1972 it has formed a district of East Sussex.

 

It is closely fought between the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives, and has frequently changed hands. Before the Council Elections in June 2004 it had a Liberal Democrat Council and a Conservative Member of Parliament, but the gain of a single council seat then enabled the Conservatives to take control which they capitalised on and gained another in 2006 to widen the majority to two. There is no Labour Party representation, and Labour candidates are usually considered to have little chance in elections, even finishing fourth behind the third placed Greens in all but one ward in 2006.

 

A previous member of parliament was the Conservative's Nigel Waterson.

 

 

 

 

THE MAYORS OF EASTBOURNE

 

The Worshipful the Mayor of Eastbourne is Councillor Janet Coles. Her current term of office runs from 27 May 2015 - 11 May 2016. Will Janet have the vision to claw Eastbourne back to its former glory, or will the decline of the once proud seaside town continue.

 

 

 


JUNE 4 2015 - Former Mayor of Eastbourne Beryl Healy, 79, was airlifted to hospital after she was rescued from beneath the wheels of her own vehicle after she became trapped.

Passers-by tried to lift Mrs Healy's car from on top of her using pallets and breeze blocks after she slipped under the wheels and the Renault Modus rolled over her - while she was unloading shopping.

The freak incident happened yesterday, but sadly Mrs Healy, of Eastbourne, East Sussex, passed away in the major trauma unit at Brighton last night.

The former Lib Dem campaigner was a pillar of the local community and was a councillor for the Devonshire ward on both the borough council and East Sussex County Council for many years.

Her late husband, John Healy, was also a councillor for the area, and family and friends have been left devastated by her death. 

Former MP for Eastbourne, Stephen Lloyd, paid tribute to the much-loved woman. He said: 'I am utterly disconsolate. Beryl Healy was a force of nature - a wonderful, wonderful woman.

 

The Mayor of Eastbourne in 2005 was one Councillor Graham Marsden, until the 17th May 2006. He was once a Deputy Head Teacher at a local Secondary school.

 

 

Trivia

 

The author George Orwell spent the years from 1911 to 1916 at boarding school in Eastbourne and is believed to have taken inspiration for the farm in Animal Farm from 'Chalk Farm' in Willingdon, a village that forms part of the conurbation that makes up Eastbourne. Lewis Carroll also had strong connections with the town. The bands Toploader, Easyworld and more recently Rooster come from Eastbourne. Up and Coming Singer/Songwriter David Ford also comes from Eastbourne Sam David Jolley a multi-billionaire oil tycoon was born in Eastbourne on the 12th of April 1956.

 

Frederick Soddy, The English radiochemist was born in Eastbourne. He also went to school at Eastbourne College, and later won the Nobel prize in chemistry for his research in radioactive decay and particularly for his formulation of the theory of isotopes.

 

Eastbourne Buses, founded in 1903 is one of the oldest motorbus companies in the world.

 

Apparently in 2005, Beachy Head over took the Golden Gate bridge as the number 1 suicide (by jumping) spot in the world.

 

Eastbourne was recently found to be the 52nd most dangerous place to live in England and Wales in the study "Urban Crime Rankings" (2006). However, as there were only 55 towns in the study, Eastbourne is also the 4th safest place to live.

 

 

 

Get in

 

By car

The main roads into Eastbourne are the A27, which runs west to Brighton, and the A259, which heads east to Hastings. The A22 (joining the A27) goes north towards London.

 

 

By train

Southern Railway is the principal train company serving Eastbourne. It is linked by train to the west with Brighton, and to the east with Bexhill, Hastings and Ashford International (for Eurostar services to France and Belgium). There is direct line to London with trains running twice-hourly, journey time around 1 hour 25 minutes.

 

Fare and timetable information is available from, or National Rail Enquiries- tel. 08457 484950 (local rate call, UK only number)

 

 

Get around

 

By bus

Services within Eastbourne borough are mainly operated by Eastbourne Buses Ltd, which is the successor company to the world's first municipal bus operator. Eastbourne Buses also operate some services to outlying areas such as Pevensey Bay, Polegate and Hailsham which are included in the local fare zone system.

 

Other bus operators in the town include Cavendish Travel, which provides a limited local service adorned in the historic green and cream livery of the fondly-remembered Southdown bus company which used to provide the inter-town bus services in Eastbourne. Longer distance services are now operated under the Stagecoach banner and serve the East Sussex area plus other towns such as Tunbridge Wells.

 

Brighton is served by a joint operation between Stagecoach and Brighton and Hove Buses. Brighton and Hove offer an excellent value all-day ticket for just GBP2.80, which includes the return journey between the two towns and unlimited travel in Brighton and Hove.

 

Eastbourne's art deco bus station closed some years ago, but almost all services now stop in a buses-only area of the main shopping precinct at Terminus Road, near the railway station. The bus company has now closed it's former "bus shops" in the town centre, but information and timetables are posted at all stops in the central area.

 

 

By taxi

"Black cabs" are rarely seen on Eastbourne's streets, but taxis licensed by the local authority are readily available at all times from ranks either side of the railway station.

 

See

  • The world-famous seafront Carpet Gardens

  • The Victorian pier, adorned with shops and traditional amusements, fast food cafes, a bar and night club and a "Camera Obscura" offering a different perspective on the town.

  • The "Redoubt Fortress", now housing a military museum but built to defend the area during the Napoleonic wars.

 

Do

 

  • Enjoy the views from Beachy Head - at 162m, the highest chalk sea cliff in Britain. See the century-old red and white lighthouse at the foot of the cliffs, and an earlier forerunner the Belle Tout lighthouse, built to warn shipping of the treacherous rocks in the vicinity.

  • Walk the South Downs Way long distance footpath, which starts on the Western edge of the town and runs through the South Downs National Park as far as Winchester to the west.

  • Take the 712 bus from the town centre to Seven Sisters Country Park at Exceat, about 8km west of Eastbourne. The park has cycle hire through the Friston Forest, a cosy cafe-restaurant and a visitor centre. The estuary of the River Cuckmere winds through here in a distinctive meander to the sea and can be walked either side of the A259 road.

From the country park, take a 4 hours walk on top of the cliffs back to Eastbourne. Don't forget to take a picnic, though Birling Gap is a pleasant beauty spot on this part of the coast, which looks particularly nice in Spring and has an excellent pub, restaurant and hotel.

 

Buy

 

While it does not perhaps offer the same range as other more fashionable shopping areas like Brighton or Tunbridge Wells, Eastbourne has a good mix of the familiar "high street" names and unusual retailers. The Arndale Centre is the main shopping mall, located in Terminus Road which itself has a wide selection of shops. Everything from books to bakeware, candles to coffee can be bought in the mall which has a light and airy feel thanks to it's atrium layout allowing in plenty of natural light. This is a popular area at all times, but particularly with children at school holidays when activities and an enchanting tableau are usually laid on in the central area between Boots and BhS.

 

For those with more eclectic tastes, "Little Chelsea" is a good area to visit. While it's hard to ignore the several funeral directors in South Street and Grove Road, reflecting the higher than average proportion of aged residents of the town, there are many shops for those who want to live life to the full, whatever their age. Particularly recommended is Camilla's second-hand bookshop with books on just about every subject imaginable, a Belgian chocolate emporium and a Bang and Olufsen hi-fi and TV specialist dealer.

 

The 2km long road known as "Seaside" (somewhat confusingly, just inland from the seafront) is like a mini-town in itself, with branches of most of the main banks, post offices, convenience stores, antique and curio shopping, furnishers, kitchen and carpet suppliers. This is the main A259 road, and leads northwards to the Admiral retail park, which houses a large Tesco superstore plus several other familiar edge of town names for DIY and electrical needs. These are also well served at the Crumbles shopping centre which adjoins the man-made Sovereign Harbour development.

 

Eat

 

As would be expected of a seaside resort, Eastbourne offers food to suit all tastes, budgets and time demands. There are plenty of fast food outlets including McDonalds and Wimpy in Terminus Road or Burger King on the pier. However, for those wanting something a little more traditional, the best fish and chip restaurants include Seaquel, at the junction of Terminus Road and Seaside Road, or the Dolphin fish bar on Seaside. Fresh seafood and shellfish can be obtained from Perrywinkles just east of the pier or if you are in self-catering accommodation, why not buy and cook local catches as fresh as can be from the wet fish shops alongside the fisherman's boat stores on the seafront walking east towards Princes Park. Many different cuisines are also on offer in Terminus Road, the main street for restaurants. If you like a sea view along with good food and drink, try the Cafe Belge at the seaward end of Terminus Road, which offers around 80 Belgian beers along with a menu reflecting the culinary traditions of Belgium. Development on the seafront itself is limited, but the hotel restaurants are always worth a try, as are the cafes and kiosks on the lower promenade, including some recently opened in former seafront shelters. Eastbourne seems to be trying to follow the lead of Brighton in making more of its beachfront for food and entertainment and several cafes and restaurants now open into the late evening on the shoreline.

 

Drink

 

Eastbourne has plenty of pubs ranging from the traditional to the trendy. Particularly recommended for those who love- or want to try- the best local "real ale" are The Marine on Seaside, which also offers an excellent restaurant and bar menu- all day on Sundays. The Marine is always a friendly and comfortable place, but is at its best around Christmas time, when an extraordinary array of festive lights turns it into a fairyland to enchant young and old alike. Also recommended are The Terminus, a recently-refurbished Harveys of Lewes pub in the town centre, and The Lamb, the oldest pub in Eastbourne in the Old Town area. Most nightclubs are situated in Langney, Pevensey and Terminus Roads though the pier with the Atlantis nightspot was something of a honeypot for language students and other smart young things.

 

If you're looking for something refreshing but not intoxicating, there are plenty of stops for a cuppa and the usual coffee chains. The Pavilion Tea Rooms, east of the pier, are recommended for afternoon tea when a piano player often adds to the polite, typically English ambience of the place.

 

 

 

 

Sleep

 

Most of the town's 4 and 5 star hotels are, unsurprisingly, located on the seafront and generally to the more rural-looking and higher Western end of the seafront. These include The Hydro, once featured in a TV Agatha Christie adaptation, and The Grand Hotel - which is a classical five star hotel, yet run in a friendly atmosphere.

 

For those on more modest budgets, there are plenty of family-run, welcoming small hotels or "bed and breakfast" establishments, plus self-catering flatlets and campsites on the edge of town. The town's Youth Hostel is located in a very picturesque spot on top of the Downs going out of town westwards, near one of the golf links.

 

Information on accommodation, eating and drinking and events is available from the excellent Tourist Information Centre on Cornfield Road in the centre of town, open 7 days a week in peak season normally til at least 5.00 p.m.

 

 

 

AIRBOURNE

 

Airbourne, also known as Eastbourne International Airshow, is a 4-day international air show run every August in Eastbourne, East Sussex, England. The event features Battle of Britain memorial flights and aircraft from the RAF and USAF, among others, and enjoys a long relationship with the Red Arrows display team.

Started in 1993, the show is run by Eastbourne Borough Council, who claim it contributes to the millions of pounds which tourism bring to the town.

A dedicated FM radio station, "Radio Airbourne", broadcasts on 87.7FM during the event.

 

In 2008, Eastbourne Borough Council controversially decided to charge a £5 admission fee, in order to meet the show's rising costs, having failed to find a major sponsor. However, with visitor numbers down on previous years and the additional cost of security during the event, the organizers were left with a £170k operational loss, and an inquiry was ordered. Five senior members of staff at Eastbourne Borough Council were made redundant in late 2009 as part of a cost-cutting exercise.

The organizers remained confident that there would be an event in 2009, but admitted that lessons would have to be learnt, and the funding of the event reviewed. Council leader David Tutt said: "We will be investigating what went right, what went wrong and looking very seriously at ways of ensuring the event for future years." A 2009 event did take place. In 2015 the event again took place, on the weekend of the 11-14th August, despite the stark statistics of another looming disaster - but it was Shoreham that made the headlines this time (see below). Eastbourne's Airbourne is an accident waiting to happen.

 

 

 

IS EASTBOURNE A PHOENIX TOWN - Never mind the threat of flooding, or tsunamis for the 3,000 homes in this vulnerable area. A multimillion pound office development for business start-ups has been welcomed as a “heaven sent opportunity” and a “game changer”. The ‘Innovation Mall’ development in Sovereign Harbour has been awarded £6.5 million in Government funding. 

The affordable office space, off Pevensey Bay Road, aims to attract entrepreneurs and vibrant new companies bringing a huge boost to the local economy. The business hub, expecting to support up to 300 workers, will boost confidence to create additional employment spaces in the area.

Eastbourne Borough Council leader David Tutt is quoted as saying: “This is going to be an absolute game changer in terms of the future of Sovereign Harbour and the development of the employment land. It will attract new, high-tech businesses that will be of benefit to the area and of East- bourne in general. I’m absolutely delighted.” 

The £6.4m funding is loaned from the Government’s Grow- ing Place Fund via the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SE LEP).

The award follows a joint bid by East Sussex County Council and Eastbourne Borough Council, which was put together by Seachange Sussex, a not-for-profit business development company. It is estimated the loan can be paid back within five years using rents from the office space.

Councillor David Elkin, who represents Sovereign for East Sussex County Council, is quoted as saying: “This very exciting project is the result of a great deal of hard work by many people within East Sussex County Council working closely with their counterparts in Eastbourne Borough Council."

 

With all this money sloshing about for regeneration outside of the town, is it not strange that there were not better safety checks on the Pier, that might have prevented the blaze.

 

 

 

THE INDEPENDENT AUGUST 2014 - People were crying as we watched our pier burn. Fierce flames leapt up from within the domed arcade of a Victorian structure that has often been voted the nation's favourite pier.

Many were weeping for their childhoods, having grown up with the pier as a place to go for treats or to wander hand-in-hand with a first love. Can I make a confession, though? Part of me is glad the place burned down. I hope it will turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

The skill and bravery of the firefighters saved the iron skeleton of the pier and the best buildings on it, which are at either end. If it can be restored – as seems likely – Eastbourne may once again have a beautiful pier … without that eyesore in the middle.

The large, domed arcade that burned down was lovely in its day but had been unloved for years, a tatty, shabby shame on the town.

We knew it in our family as the Game Shed, where you could go and race tin horses for tuppences. But, like most families, we stopped going there when game consoles at home took away the need. It became a place for the dead-eyed to spoon coins into what used to be called one-armed bandits before they took away the arms.

On the outside, the paint was blistering, the bird crap dappled the roof and the sea salt was burning holes in the ironwork. The whole pier looked magnificent in blue and white for the film Last Orders in 2001, but, after that, most of it was apparently left to rot.

The owners clearly did not to care how it looked and Eastbourne council seemed to do nothing about the decline of our most famous landmark. That was no surprise. Conservative and Liberal Democrat councils have successively mismanaged the prominent features of this lovely town.

Neglect is what happens when the best assets of a community are left to the care of private operators. We used to promenade visitors to the end of the pier, which opened in 1870, but stopped when its condition became a bit of an embarrassment. Still, there is a lot of sympathy in the town for those who work on the pier, and also relief that nobody was hurt.

As we watched the fire, many of us assumed it must have been caused by an electrical fault; but the police have since said they have information to suggest it was "started by someone".

David Cameron and George Osborne both visited on Friday and promised extra money for the town. This was, of course, in no way a cynical response to Eastbourne being a key marginal. It will be a close, two-way race between the Conservative candidate and the current MP, Stephen Lloyd, who seeks to overcome the liability of being a Lib Dem by working very hard indeed locally. It was unfortunate that he chose to post a selfie on Wednesday with the burning pier in the background.

As fire tore through the pier on Wednesday, reducing its white, domed roof to a charred skeleton, 144 years of history were stripped from the Victorian boardwalk. But the borough council hopes the pier can be salvaged. This is not the first time it has faced a rebuild – half of it was swept away in a storm in 1877.

 

 

 

DAILY MAIL APRIL 2014 - It is always good form to wear a sunhat at the beach - but at one sandy spot today hard hats were more in order.

In Eastbourne, Sussex, today hundreds of tons of gravel were sprayed from just off-shore by a giant dredger drafted in to repair the devastation caused by the huge storms this winter.

Miles and miles of English coast was battered by high winds and powerful waves, which has sped up the rate at which the beach is dwindling. The process of longshore drift - where natural tides gradually shift sand and sediment along the shoreline - was put into overdrive by the unnaturally fierce weather.

In an attempt to restore the shrinking sands, the Environment Agency and local councils have begun using the dredging vessels - such as the Sospan Dau pictured below - to suck up sediment from one point along the beach, mix it with water and spit it back out. The process, known as rainbowing, should help protect the beach in years to come.

 

 

COMMENTS - Old cogger, Birmingham, United Kingdom

Eastbourne has been doing this for years, ever since the building of the local Marina altered the wash of the tides. I stood on Pevensey beach some 7 years ago and watched the dredger doing the same. It is an ongoing problem, and will continue as long as the groins are not repaired or replaced. I communicated by email with the author of an interesting article in their local paper after I returned home, and as a manager of the local drainage authority, he told me the story.

 

 

TRAGEDY

 

Questions were asked as to the suitability of a council running an air-show, where a circular economy demands steerage away from fossil fuels - but here they were operating new and old aircraft that pump out CO2 into the atmosphere - all the while running the risk of accidental deaths.

 

Airbourne has seen accidents of various severity over the years. On 18 August 2000 former Red Arrows pilot Ted Girdler was killed when his Aero L-29 Delfín jet failed to pull up from a diving roll and crashed into the English Channel. You can only give those who will not see so many signs.

 

 

 

DAILY MAIL SEPT 2010 - This is the moment when a stunt glider slammed into a runway in front of 15,000 horrified fans at an airshow.

Amazingly pilot Mike Newman, 35, crawled out of the wreckage of the high performance Swift S-1 aircraft after the cockpit broke up on impact.

The former racing driver suffered three broken vertebrae in the accident, but doctors expect him to make a full recovery.

Mr Newman crashed while performing for the Swift Aerobatic Display Team at the Royal Air Forces Association airshow at Shoreham, West Sussex.

Amateur photographer Rob Yuill, 62, of Hornchurch, Essex, who took the amazing sequence of pictures, said: 'He had a very lucky escape indeed.'

'The glider was supposed to perform an aerobatic display with two powered aircraft - but it was a very overcast day with low cloud.'

'The gilder only performed for a couple of minutes before being released from its tow line. Then it flew downwind and turned to make its final approach to land.

 

 

 

 

 

TELEGRAPH 25 AUG 2015 - The Shoreham Air Show has long been a great charitable event run for the benefit of the Royal Air Force Association. My wife and I regularly attended when we lived in Sussex, and our hearts went out to all the victims of the disaster and their families this weekend.

The show has a fine safety record, and displays by vintage and classic aircraft have always made it an awe-inspiring attraction. Indeed, the safety record at all such air shows is necessarily impressive. This was the first accident involving spectators or bystanders since the mid-air break-up of the DH110 prototype strike aircraft at Farnborough in 1952. Back then, 29 spectators were killed as well as the pilot and the on-board flight test observer. We still don’t know how many have perished at Shoreham. Nor do we know the reason for the accident.

We do know, though, that flying is, by its very nature, potentially dangerous. As a Cold-War warrior long ago flying the earliest single-seat jet fighters, I neither fired a shot in anger, nor was I ever shot at. But I know all too well the risks involved when you push aircraft to their very limits. Indeed, I bear the scars of my misjudgments.

But those days are long gone and the stringent regulation of air shows and aerobatic displays developed since the 1952 disaster has minimized the danger to the public. 

 

 

 

 

SHOREHAM AIR SHOW 22 AUGUST 2015

 

On the 22nd of August 2015, a vintage jet aircraft crashed during a display at the Shoreham Airshow in Shoreham-by-Sea, England, killing 11 people and injuring 16 others. It was the deadliest air show accident in the United Kingdom since the 1952 Farnborough air show crash, which killed 31 people.

The aircraft, a Hawker Hunter T7, failed to complete a loop manoeuvre and crashed onto vehicles on the A27 trunk road. The pilot survived the crash, and was placed in a medically-induced coma. As a result of the accident, all Hawker Hunter aircraft in the United Kingdom were grounded, and restrictions were put in place on civilian vintage jet aircraft displays over land, limiting them to fly-pasts and banning high energy aerobatic maneuvers.

The aircraft was a vintage two-seat Hawker Hunter T7, registration G-BXFI, displaying its former military serial number WV372 as part of its livery. Having first flown for the Royal Air Force (RAF) in July 1955, it was rebuilt following a fire, returning to service in 1959 after conversion to T7 specification. It had been making civilian display flights as a warbird since 1998, under a variety of owners. At the time of the incident, it was owned by Graham Peacock, and based at North Weald Airfield, Essex.

Andy Hill, the 51-year-old pilot, was described by colleagues as experienced, with over 12,000 flight hours. He had worked as a captain at British Airways. He had flown Harrier Jump Jets and worked as an instructor for the RAF before joining the airline. Aside from the Hawker Hunter, he also flew a Van's Aircraft RV-8 and a BAC Jet Provost at airshows.

The crash occurred at about 13:20 BST (12:20 UTC); the aircraft did not complete an inside loop aerobatic manoeuvre and crashed onto the A27 road just north of the airport, exploding upon impact and hitting multiple cars. Footage taken of the crash showed a large fireball and plume of smoke immediately following the impact. The aircraft broke into four parts on impact: cockpit, tail, left wing and main body and right wing.

Eleven people on the ground were killed, and 16 others were injured. Those confirmed dead included two players from Worthing United F.C., a level 9 team in English football. Eight vehicles were destroyed in the crash, including a Daimler DS420 limousine which was en route to collect a bride to transport her to church for her wedding. The driver of the Daimler was subsequently confirmed as one of the victims. So far, 10 of the 11 victims have been named:

Hill, the pilot, survived the crash with serious injuries. He was flown to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in nearby Brighton; his condition was described as critical and he was said to be fighting for his life. He was subsequently placed in a medically-induced coma.

On 22 August police said it was possible that more bodies might be recovered from the scene, and on 24 August announced that up to 20 people might have died in the crash but when the wreckage of the aircraft was removed on 24 August these fears diminished as no further bodies were found. All the recovered components of the aircraft will be taken to the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) facility at Farnborough, Hampshire, for examination.

By 27 August, almost all of the human remains had been recovered and formal identification had begun. Police were said still to believe that it was likely that 11 people were killed.

Airshows are like cat-nip to cash-strapped councils because there is little in the way of ground preparations, with the financial returns being huge - in terms of tourists coming to spend money in their region. But is that a responsible approach, or should local authorities be banned from staging such events.

 

 

 

THE ARGUS MARCH 2015 - Wet wipes, cotton buds and fish-shaped soy sauce dispensers are contributing to the rubbish on our beaches which is twice the amount of the national average.

The latest Marine Conservation Society report into beach litter has revealed East Sussex volunteers cleared away twice the amount of detritus from their beaches than the South East and national average.

The report published this week revealed that 250 volunteers clearing up ten East Sussex beaches found on average almost 4900 items of litter per square kilometre.

It was a slightly more cheering picture across West Sussex where 196 volunteers picking at seven beaches bagged more than 2800 items at an average of 1073 items per square kilometre.

Campaigners said the problem was “not going away anytime soon”.

The biggest litter hauls collected in September’s big clean-up were by the 23 volunteers at Brighton Marina who collected 2054 items, 30 volunteers collecting 2696 items at Ovingdean and 17 volunteers picking up 1606 bits of litter from Brighton beach.

By comparison, 130 volunteers covering Worthing beach from pier to esplanade gathered 565 items while one dedicated and solitary picker at Aldwick gathered 214 bits of litter all by themselves.

The report said that nearly all items of litter, ranging from wet wipes, fishing lines, food wrappers, balloons and lighters, were on the increase with only cigarette packets and cotton buds down while beaches acted as a “magnet” for flytipping.

Surfers Against Sewage volunteer Alistair Feest said the issue was less to do with litter being left behind by the public but “industry generated” pollution – in particular from the fishing industry.

But residents were also at fault for treating the toilets as bins with the result being that thousands of plastic items entered the water system.

Mr Feest said: “Cotton buds are a big offender, the ends will disappear and they end up looking like lolly sticks and will remain for years all the while releasing harmful chemicals into the water.

“Little bits of plastic look like food to fishes and seabirds which they won’t be able to digest them, it makes them feel full, and they die from starvation because they can’t actually eat. “The problem is not going away anytime soon.”


Ed Santry, MCS sea champions co-ordinator for the South East, said the UK Government needed to produce National Marine Litter Action Plans for England and Wales, similar to those already produced for Scotland and Northern Ireland.

He added: “The levels of litter can vary from day to day dependent on tides and weather conditions, one day a beach could look pretty clear and the next day it can be completely strewn.”

Surfers Against Sewage will be holding a litter pick from Rottingdean beach meeting near to Molly’s Café at 11am on Sunday March 29.

 

 

 

TELEGRAPH MARCH 2014 - Half a television, a French bulletproof vest and an unopened pack of bacon were among the mountains of litter cleared from British beaches last year.

They were among 223,405 pieces of litter that volunteers bagged up and removed as part of the Beachwatch Big Weekend 2013. Organisers the Marine Conservation Society said beach litter was increasing and behaviour needed to change.

The 20th anniversary clean-up, which took place over one weekend in September, saw 2,309 items of litter found on every kilometre cleaned - the highest in Beachwatch history.

"This is a disgusting tide of litter which is threatening the safety of beach visitors both human and animal," said Lauren Eyles, of the Marine Conservation Society.

"It's coming in from the sea, being blown from the land or simply being dumped and dropped. After 20 years of campaigning it's disheartening that in 2013 we are seeing worse litter levels than ever."

According to campaigners 39% of the litter recovered was dropped by members of the public, 12% was linked to commercial and recreational fishing and 4% with the shipping industry.

Miss Eyles says 2013 was a vintage year for finding strange things on beaches.

"As well as half a TV, a French bulletproof vest and a pack of bacon, there was a brass candlestick, some plastic bird feet, a birdcage, a bath plug, half a canoe and a set of dentures," she said.

Top of the finds was once again plastic pieces.

These are tiny bits of plastic that have broken off larger items or have been in the sea for possibly decades and become smaller and smaller.

"Plastic is a real issue for our oceans and beaches," Miss Eyles said.

"This year we also picked up lots of lids and caps. However, despite it being a really warm summer, we saw less crisp, sweets and lolly wrappers and fewer plastic bottles."

 

 

 

 

THE BLUE ECONOMY

 

In their public relations blurb Eastbourne Borough Council tell us how clean their beaches are. The stark reality is the complete opposite, as the pictures on this page of Sussex beaches reveal. What about this council's commitment to the blue economy? That is the whole point, we can see nothing that tells us that Eastbourne is doing anything positive about the plastic waste that in choking the high seas with toxins that are now finding their way onto out plates, mostly on Fridays, when traditional fish and chips is on the menu.

 

Instead, giant dredgers are employed to spray pebbles back up the beaches, burying the problem, that will just come back to haunt our children in years to come. "Mummy, why can't we eat fish anymore" Because there are not enough in the ocean today for fishermen to catch, and what is there is poisonous." "But Mum, how did that happen?" "Well, nobody in authority seemed to care enough to do anything about it."

 

In January of 2015 the Department for Local Communities and Local Government told that Eastbourne borough council would receive £1.8 million to regenerate the Devonshire Ward in Eastbourne by developing new leisure and business facilities, improving the public realm and promoting local artists and providing training. It is said that this grant will create 118 jobs. We wonder how much of that money will be spent alerting the public to the horror of ocean waste?

 

 

 

WATER SPORTS PAGEANT - In percentage terms very few members of the public know about the (plastic) litter problem that the world is facing. Councils around the UK are not telling holiday makers about the state of their beaches, because they want tourist dollars at any cost - in this case silence about an issue that Barack Obama describes as a risk to US homeland security appears irresponsible.

 

The Miss Ocean™ competition is designed to inform everyman in a way that is easy to digest, unlike the waste that fish and even plankton are consuming, then passing accumulated toxins to us humans as we eat our seafood, oblivious to the dangers of the deep. The shark in Jaws was mild by comparison. Perhaps Steven Spielberg needs to get in on the act!

 

 

EXTERNAL LINKS

 

Visit Eastbourne Airbourne

Wikipedia Airbourne_air_show

The Argus UK news business_centre_in_Sovereign_Harbour_will_be_a_heaven_sent_opportunity

Yorkpress UK news Sussex_beaches_are_a_magnet_for_flytipping_as_new_figures_reveal_huge_litter_problem

Government news record funding for 36 seaside towns that will kick start jobs and apprenticeships

Eastbourne Herald news local beach litter putting wildlife at risk

Daily Mail Eastbourne dredger throws hundreds tons gravel beach bid repair damage winter storms

Independent the-end-of-another-pier tears have dried over blaze in Eastbourne but why was the pride of town allowed to decay

Dailymail Shoreham air crash pilot escapes stunt glider smashes runway

Eastbourne about the councillors and committees mayor
Dailymail former mayor killed car rolled unloaded shopping

http://www.eastbourne.gov.uk/about-the-council/councillors-and-committees/mayor/about/
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3112537/Former-mayor-killed-car-rolled-unloaded-shopping.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1311828/Shoreham-air-crash-pilot-escapes-stunt-glider-smashes-runway.html

http://www.eastbourneherald.co.uk/news/local/beach-litter-putting-wildlife-at-risk-1-6659213

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/record-funding-for-36-seaside-towns-that-will-kick-start-jobs-and-apprenticeships

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airbourne_%28air_show%29

http://www.visiteastbourne.com/airbourne/

Eastbourne Borough Council official website

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2001 Census profile for Eastbourne

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Mellon's Books Secondhand and new books in Eastbourne

Enterprise Centre 56 shops all owned independently

 

 

 

 

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