Rising insurance costs force Buxton Carnival organisers to pull plug on military flypast

The Spitfire flypast was due to have taken place on carnival day.
The Spitfire flypast was due to have taken place on carnival day.

Buxton Carnival organisers have said the decision to pull the plug on this year’s planned military flypast - due to rising insurance costs - was taken “with a heavy heart”.

The carnival continues to be one of the highlights of the well dressing festival fortnight, but for the first time in more than five years there will be no accompanying afternoon flyover.

The Royal Air Force’s Battle of Britain Memorial Flight - which provides the aerial displays - confirmed only last month that a spitfire flypast would be possible on Saturday July 8.

But a subsequent increase in insurance costs has forced carnival organisers to decline the invitation.

John Moss, secretary of the Buxton Well Dressing Festival committee, said: “There was no way we could cover the cost of the insurance if we had the flyover

“It would have made the prices astronomical and other things on carnival day would have suffered as a result, so it was with a heavy heart that the committee decided to forego the flyover.”

Insurance prices have risen dramatically since the Shoreham Air Show disaster in August 2015, when a vintage jet aircraft crashed during a display killing 11 people and injuring 16 others.

John said: “We knew it would go up, but we just couldn’t justify the difference.

“We know people will be disappointed but in the cold light of day we have to make the best day possible for the whole town using the best of our budget.

“The fences along Spring Gardens cost upwards of £10,000 so we really need to make sure every penny is well spent.”

The Buxton carnival and well dressing festival is steeped in tradition, stretching back to 1840 when residents thanked the 6th Duke of Devonshire for providing freshly-piped water by organised a floral display around the well, a tea party and a brass band procession.

Over 170 years later, it remains a part of Buxton’s cultural heritage.

John said: “Having grown up in Buxton, well dressing has always happened so it seems strange that people out of the county have never heard of the concept.

“This is all set to change this year and we are delighted to be involved with the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show as one of the well dressing teams.

“Hopefully once more people have heard about well dressing from the show we should see more visitors to our carnivals in future years.”

He added: “We had 62 floats last year and have already had such a lot of interest in people wanting to take part this year.

“It is the people, on the floats and those watching, who help make the carnival what it is, and I look forward to seeing the town come out and celebrate the biggest carnival in the county.”