‘We didn’t ever want to let people down’, that is the comment made by one of the Bognor Birdman organisers following the announcement today that 2017’s event has been cancelled.
Sarah Boote Cook confirmed it was due to the lack of a major sponsor but said that there may still be time to save it.
She said: “It would have to be within the next few days – if we can guarantee £10k in that time it would run.”
Describing the public reaction as ‘immense’, Sarah added: “I expected some grief today, but I didn’t expect such an outpouring of public grief. I am really glad people want it to stay – that is really heart warming.
“We will fight to do it this year, we will fight to do it in the future.”
Within hours of the news breaking a Facebook group was been created calling for people to donate a £1 each to ‘Make Bognor Birdman Happen’ and turn the disappointment into action.
An outpouring of anger has also been seen due to the decision being made less than three weeks before take off.
“In hindsight we have perhaps left it a little late but it isn’t an easy thing to cancel,” said Sarah.
“We have had sleepless weeks hoping that it would come right, it has in the last, it did last year.
“We knew what the reaction would be, we knew people would be bitterly disappointed.
“It was the first one we would have run ourselves and we want it to be great, we want to bring it back to where it was.
“We can, hand on heart, say we have worked incredibly hard and will continue to.
“Yes we have asked Richard Branson and Butlin’s, we have asked everybody – I don’t think we have left a stone unturned anywhere.
“We have had a lot of interest from companies, both local and national, but the sponsor has not been forthcoming. We put out over 300 requests for advertising in the event brochure for £50 slots and got 12 back.”
Sarah said it was a case of ‘you miss something when it is gone’.
“It costs a minimum of £18k to run the event, I don’t think the general public appreciate that – I don’t think I did. It is a big event to run.
“We were very fortunate that we got a grant from Bognor Town Council but it only goes a small way.”
The event was scheduled to take place on August 12 and 13, see www.bognor.co.uk for more reaction and updates.