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Council gives brand new air show the green light for take off


The brand-new air show is now officially set for take-off!

At today's Council meeting, Councillors approved budget that will see The International Ayr Show - Festival of Flight come to Ayr's Low Green from 8 - 10 September this year.

Officers will now ramp up the pace to get everything in place to bring a breath-taking, must-see event to South Ayrshire.

We can only deliver such an event with the support of a range of partners.  We're therefore delighted to announced that Ashleigh (Scotland) Ltd. have signed up to become a major sponsor of the new air show.   

Ashleigh (Scotland) Ltd. will join forces with the Council; strategic partner, theSKYLAB; and event charity partner, The RAF Benevolent Fund to deliver a spectacular three-day festival. 

More sponsorship is on the cards following a recent business engagement event that was held at Ayr Town Hall.

We want to encourage as many local businesses as possible to share in what's shaping up to be an amazing festival.  By becoming part of the air show, businesses will be able to support the local community.  They'll also play a role in promoting growth and development across South Ayrshire, resulting in a positive economic impact on the local area. 

The business engagement event saw representatives from the local business community come together to discover more about our proposals to deliver the air show, and our ambition to raise awareness of the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects with local young people.

Underpinning the whole festival is our ongoing engagement with local children and young people to help them gain confidence and inspire them to learn about, and even consider a career in the STEM sectors.

Those who came along to the business engagement event heard from our strategic partner, theSKYLAB, whose mission is to reach out to young people from all backgrounds to help guide them to achieve their potential in STEM subjects, which could ultimately lead to rewarding careers in these areas.  With the global aerospace industry estimated to be worth over £3 trillion by the year 2030, it's critical for the local and UK economy that more young people choose STEM subjects at school. 

Also represented at the engagement event was the new air show charity partner, The RAF Benevolent Fund.  Their CEO and Controller, Air Vice-Marshal Chris Elliot, spoke to raise awareness of the essential work that's carried out by the charity.  For over a century, the charity has supported members of the RAF Family, providing practical, emotional, and financial support whenever they need it.

With funding secured and key partners in place, we're now in the best possible position to deliver what will undoubtably be the highlight of the Scottish events calendar this year.

Managing Director of Ashleigh (Scotland) Ltd., David Smith, said: "Based in South West Scotland for over 20 years, Ashleigh Construction has a strong commitment to local sustainable employment, supporting and enhancing communities and working with schools, young people and local sports teams and enterprises.

"We are delighted to come in as a major sponsor of The International Ayr Show - Festival of Flight. This is an exciting opportunity to be part of the air show, attracting people from all ages to Ayr, delivering economic impact to the area and providing an excellent weekend of entertainment.

"By working with theSKYLAB there will also be a strong core of STEM outreach throughout the event, which is something that Ashleigh Construction is very passionate about. It is the perfect community project for us to support and we look forward to being part of it."

CEO of theSKYLAB, Dr Geoff Coxon, said: "We are delighted to be part of the International Ayr Show - Festival of Flight. The event will enable our charity to outreach our activities for young people and the public across South Ayrshire and beyond.

"The bold vision of South Ayrshire Council to invest in the air show over the next five years enables us to help make lasting positive impact across communities, showcasing STEM based career opportunities in the Prestwick aerospace sector, as it expands in a growing global market. Importantly, this will enable hundreds of young people, and indeed many others, to reach their potential and boost both the regional and national economies."

Director Scotland, Northern Ireland & North-East England RAFBF, Gavin Davey, said: "This is a tremendous opportunity to work in partnership with South Ayrshire Council and all those associated with the International Ayr Show - Festival of Flight to enable the RAF Benevolent Fund to reach and support the RAF Family in Ayrshire, the West of Scotland and nationally. 

"It is a wonderful chance to benefit those who have served their country in their hour of need."

South Ayrshire Council's Portfolio Holder for Tourism, Culture and Rural Affairs, Councillor Alec Clark said: "It's excellent to have the final go-ahead to bring the brand-new air show to Ayr this year. I'm absolutely delighted that Ashleigh (Scotland) Ltd. have offered major sponsorship, which shows their confidence in us to deliver such a prestigious event.

"The business engagement event was a fantastic opportunity for local retailers and businesses to get together in one place to learn about the many benefits the new air show will bring not only to Ayr, but South Ayrshire as a whole.  It was also the perfect stage for the RAF Benevolent Fund to introduce themselves and highlight the important work they do to the local business people who joined us.

"The International Ayr Show - Festival of Flight gives us a platform to raise awareness of the importance of STEM subjects and how the young people who study in these areas will play a key part in shaping our future."

South Ayrshire Council's Portfolio Holder for Sport and Leisure, Councillor Brian Connolly, said: "A huge milestone was passed today, and it feels great to finally be able to go full steam ahead with planning for the event. 

"Ashleigh (Scotland) Ltd.'s sponsorship comes as much-welcomed news to everyone involved in the festival.  With the support of local businesses and that of our event partners, we'll work collaboratively to make the brand-new air show a huge success.

"We'll also be able to reach out to young people and promote the many positives around studying STEM subjects and the fantastic potential this can afford their future careers.

"Being able to help showcase the magnificent efforts of the RAF Benevolent fund is a privilege for the Council and I was delighted to see them come along to join us at what was a very successful business engagement event."

Leader of South Ayrshire Council, Councillor Martin Dowey, said: "It's fantastic to have the budget agreed for the new air show and now be able to plough ahead with the arrangements for this much-anticipated festival.

"I'd like to extend my thanks to Ashleigh (Scotland) Ltd. for stepping up as a major sponsor for The International Ayr Show - Festival of Flight. Working together with local businesses will help everyone achieve great things through the new air show. 

"It's always brilliant to see opportunities for young people emerge from Council initiatives and events, and our partnership with theSKYLAB is ideal to encourage local young people to embrace STEM subjects. 

"We're also extremely proud to have the RAF Benevolent fund as our event charity partner and help them to raise awareness of the wonderful work they carry out."

You can find out more about the International Ayr Show - Festival of Flight, including details of sponsorship packages at