THE sight and sound of the Red Arrows soaring over Southend has got the city dreaming of a return of its popular air show.

Southend Airport played host to the Red Arrows over the weekend when it was used as base for the iconic planes, which were featuring in the Eastbourne Air Show on Saturday and Sunday.

It has led to calls from residents and readers to be used as a catalyst to bring the air show back to Southend.

Council leader Stephen George hasn’t completely ruled out the idea, but says a big sponsor would be needed to provide the majority of funding for such an event.

Among those calling for the air show to return is 36-year-old Louisa Wright, of Esplanade Gardens in Southend.

“I definitely think we need to see it come back. I remember when I was young and it was just a staple of Southend,” she said.

“People came here from so far away just to see the air show, and I think the fact we’ve lost it is very sad.

“There was such a huge hype and excitement caused by having the Red Arrows here at the weekend which just shows how much everyone wants the event back.

“We heard one of the planes going over our home and it was so exciting.”

Echo:  How the crowds look from a pilot’s point of view during a Southend Airshow of the past How the crowds look from a pilot’s point of view during a Southend Airshow of the past (Image: Newsquest)

Fellow fan Adam Ball, 47, of Shakespeare Drive, Westcliff, added: “I would be very much on board with it coming back to the city.

“It would be fantastic and I think the city has missed the likes of the Red Arrows flying over.

“It would be great to see it come back but I know there were hurdles and issues with it before.

“If these can be overcome it would be a very good thing.

“I think it could work well around the last weekend of the summer. It was such a big deal for Southend and I remember the crowds were huge and there were so many people on the cliffs watching.”

The Southend Air Show last took place in 2012.

An effort to revive the event in 2015 was unsuccessful, despite volunteers raising £250,000 and a petition calling for its return gaining 2,000 signatures.

Posting on the Echo’s Facebook page, dozens of readers have also called for a resurrection of the show.

Susan Boreham wrote: “Yes it is it time to bring back the air show. It should never have been cancelled - it was a great family day out.”

Mary Emery said: “It should come back, I saw the Red Arrows from my back garden and it brought back so many memories.”

Kevin Cox added: “It should have been arranged for this year to celebrate Southend becoming a city.

“It was always a great weekend and must have been good for trade as well.”

When asked about a return of the air show, Southend Council leader Mr George admitted the authority did not have the cash to organise the event because it is looking at a budget gap of “several million pounds”.

The Labour boss added: “I need to talk to my colleagues but it would need massive sponsorship. I think everyone would like to see it back.

“The reality is we are in the middle of a cost of living crisis and are facing a huge budget gap - it needs to be about priorities.”