Pilots ready to take to the skies for the Battle Proms concert at Burghley House

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FORMER RAF Wittering Harrier pilots will be flying through familiar skies at this year’s Battle Proms picnic concert at Burghley House.

The air aces will be entertaining the crowds as the Blades Aerobatic Display Team at the popular and patriotic night of music and fireworks on Saturday, July 7.

All four pilots live in the Stamford area and two of them saw active service flying Harriers. All four have also been members of the Red Arrows team.

And this year’s Battle Proms audience will get an opportunity to bid to spend an unforgettable day with the Blades and fly with them as a front seat passenger.

An auction will be held during the concert interval and proceeds will go to the concert organisers’ charity partners, the Royal Air Force Association’s Wings Appeal and Combat Stress.

Thousands of people are expected to pack up their hampers and champers and head off to Burghley Park for the concert which is now in its eighth year.

With the jubilee and the Olympics, this year’s event provides an exceptionally poignant opportunity for a spot of Union flag-waving and the evening will include a diamond jubilee gun salute as well as a rendition of God Save the Queen.

There will be a two-hour programme of classical music performed by the New English Concert Orchestra plus Last Night of the Proms’ favourites sung by soprano Denise Leigh.

The audience will also be treated to an aerial display by a Second World War Spitfire as well as the Blades team and there will be 200 cannons to accompany Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture and Beethoven’s Battle Symphony, mounted Napoleonic skill-at-arms cavalry displays and breathtaking fireworks set to music.

The Rockabellas will be providing the warm-up entertainment and there will be fairground stalls and a violin solo by Katy Smith.

Douglas Coombes will be the conductor and Pam Rhodes is compere.

The Battle Proms concert series has raised £100,000 for mental health charity Combat Stress in the past seven years - the money coming from audience donations and concert profits.

Concert tickets are now on sale with ‘early bird’ and group discounts available.

They are £30.50 until April 30, £33 from May 1 and £38 on the night, subject to availability. Tickets for children aged 5-15 are £16, youngsters aged four and under get in free.

For more information and to book, go to www.battleproms.com or ring 01432 355 416.

Gates will open at 4.30pm, entertainment begins at 6.30pm and the event finishes at 10.30pm.