Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Woodvale Rally organisers bid to bring 2013 event back to RAF base

By Natasha Young, The Southport Champion

ORGANISERS of the Woodvale Rally are hopeful that it can return to its RAF airfield home next year, amid fears that having to find a new location could spell the end for the event.

Earlier this year the annual two-day festival of aircraft and motoring displays and demonstrations, as well as camping and family attractions, was forced to make a last minute move to Southport’s Victoria Park after asbestos was discovered at the RAF Woodvale site.

The 2011 Woodvale Rally at its traditional home at RAF Woodvale

As the dates for the August event were moved back to July, and the new venue meant that some of the attractions such as flying displays could no longer take place or had to be scaled back, the team behind the rally remained determined to put on a good show.

However, the event brought a financial blow for organisers as it only took around a third of its usual takings on the gate, and the loss of some popular attractions is thought to have put some regular visitors off.
Rally manager Peter Wood has now confirmed to the Champion that they are waiting for a report to by the Ministry of Defence to arrive any day, which will determine whether or not asbestos-hit RAF Woodvale is now safe to be used for such an event.

If the report, which is being put together after Southport MP John Pugh raised the issue in parliament, confirms the airfield is safe, Mr Wood said they will aim to take the rally back to the site.

"The thing is the who event is built around RAF Woodvale, and we need a runway," said Mr Wood.

"We hope we can go back because if we can’t get back it could be the end of the Woodvale Rally."

The 2012 Woodvale Rally at Victoria Park in Southport 

Since this summer’s Victoria Park event, Mr Wood said other locations such as Leisure Lakes and the Riverside Caravan Park have been considered for 2013, when the rally will be in its 42nd year, however organisers are keen to maintain the character and all the popular features of the event.

He added: "The only other site we could use is Leisure Lakes , but it’s not the same and it wouldn’t be the Woodvale Rally.

"Victoria Park was a nice site but the problem was we couldn’t have the model aircraft so people didn’t go."

As the organisers continue to secure the future of the Woodvale Rally, they are still getting preparations underway for a 2013 show by booking stalls and attractions.

"We’ve got to keep the ball rolling in the hope we can get Woodvale," said Mr Wood.

"People have been coming to the event from all over for 40 years. They love it."

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