Lancasters make public debut at Eastbourne air show

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Media captionThe last two airworthy Lancaster bombers were this year's star attraction

Two World War Two Lancaster bombers have flown on the south coast for their first public display as a pair.

The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight's aircraft was joined by a Canadian plane, named Vera, which is the only other airworthy example still flying.

Their flight at Eastbourne Airbourne was the first of more than 60 events and flypasts in a month-long series of appearances across the UK.

The air show is taking place two weeks after fire engulfed Eastbourne pier.

Only a metal skeleton remains of the amusement arcade on the pier, which is closed.

But a section of promenade under the structure has been reopened in time for the four-day air show, which ends on Sunday and is expected to attract tens of thousands of visitors.

"It's a fantastic opportunity to show everybody that Eastbourne is a can-do town," said councillor Carolyn Heaps.

"We've had a bit of a disaster with our pier only a couple of weeks ago but we have come through that. It's business as usual. Our town is buzzing."

Image caption Councillor Carolyn Heaps said the town was buzzing despite the pier fire

The Lancaster bomber is best known for its part in attacking German dams in 1943, later portrayed in The Dam Busters film.

The two aircraft, which have been reunited as a salute to veterans of Bomber Command, first flew together from RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire on Wednesday.

Airbourne commentator George Bacon said the meeting of the two aircraft was "huge".

"I can't underscore enough how important an event it is, most notably for the veterans who are still alive," he said.

Former flight engineer and bomb aimer Jack Watson, 90, flew 77 missions in the aircraft during World War Two.

"It's a sound you never, ever forget and you can still smell the inside of one when it goes," he said.

Eight of the pier's concessions have been given market stalls at the show in an effort to help get the businesses back on their feet.

Residents and businesses in the town have given more than £4,500 to Eastbourne Pier Benevolent Fund, which is being used to help people suffering hardship caused by the blaze.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The fire destroyed a third of the 1,000ft (300m) long pier

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