By DAVID BLACKMORE
Thursday, December 6, 2012
The station commander at RAF Marham has praised West Norfolk’s continued support of the base after his first year in the county.
Group Captain David Cooper told business owners in Downham Market that he was “continually humbled” by the public support for the RAF.
Gp Capt Cooper moved from RAF headquarters in High Wycombe in December last year to take over from Marham’s last station commander, Gp Capt Peter ‘Rocky’ Rochelle.
Speaking at the Downham Chamber of Trade breakfast last week, Gp Capt Cooper said: “I didn’t really realise just how interwoven RAF bases are in the community until I started here as base commander.
“When I was a squadron leader, I just didn’t think about it, so when I came here it was like stepping into the unknown, but I have been overawed by the continued support shown by the community.”
RAF Marham’s station commander has attended many civic events in West Norfolk over the past year, including the official opening of the annual Mart in King’s Lynn on Valentine’s Day and the St Winnold’s Day parade in Downham Market in March.
He also joined former head of the armed forces, General Lord Richard Dannatt, in taking the salute during a military parade through Downham Market, also in March, to mark the 90th anniversary of the town’s Royal British Legion branch.
Gp Capt Cooper said he had many highlights in his first year which included parading through Norfolk towns and meeting the Queen on Norfolk’s last RAF flying base, before adding that he was looking forward to his second year at RAF Marham.
His comments came after large crowds gathered in King’s Lynn town centre as personnel from RAF Marham exercised the Freedom of the Borough in September.
It also comes two years after 37,000 people showed their support for the base by signing a petition to secure its short-term future during the EDP’s Make it Marham campaign.