AROUND one million people are expected to head for Bournemouth Air Festival (August 19-22) and some locals will be in the thick of the action.
Many members of the Armed Forces who will be working at the four-day extravaganza are reservists and it will give some the chance to get involved with an event in their backyard, while others are returning home as part of their duties.
One of those is Lt Cdr Heather Lane, 51, who is a media operations specialist in the Royal Navy Reserves.
Heather, who was brought up in Ferndown, first joined in the 1980s and returned after having two daughters.
Since then she has been deployed to the Baltic, Atlantic, Malaysia, Singapore, the Mediterranean and Iraq in 2006 and 2007. Next year she will be heading to Bahrain.
Heather, now working at Navy Command Headquarters in Portsmouth, said: “I attended Bournemouth Air Festival last year while on holiday with my family – my two sisters and their children – and we loved it, especially the Vulcan and the fast jets.
“I am thrilled to be able to come back to Bournemouth, this time in uniform working alongside Bournemouth’s tourism officers to help provide information about the military, especially the Naval elements of the show.”
Lt Cdr Alison Hawes, 45, who by day is south-west regional irector for the Countryside Alliance, also originally hails from Ferndown.
Alison, who now lives in Plymouth and is also a media operations specialist with the Navy, spent 10 years serving full-time and has completed a further 16 as a reservist.
She said: “I have not done the Air Festival before and I am looking forward to spending some time in my home town as well as contributing to the RN team who will be participating.”
Helping develop the future of the Navy is Andrew Marlborough, 48, from Witchampton.
Andrew, who is security manager at the Crichel Estate, is commanding officer of Bournemouth Sea Cadet Unit.
He said: “I’m looking forward to seeing the whole thing again and assisting with the cadet training on board RFA Larg’s Bay – which will be at the festival – ensuring the cadets from all four cadet forces gain the maximum knowledge and enjoyment.
“This year cadets are celebrating 150 years, so this will also be a showcase for the cadet forces to put across to the general public just exactly what goes on. Various events have taken place all over the country in celebration of this event.”