Dereham RAF association prepare for Battle of Britain parade and Wings Appeal Week

Scenes from the 2016 Battle of Britain parade through Dereham. Photo: Archant

Scenes from the 2016 Battle of Britain parade through Dereham. Photo: Archant - Credit: Archant

The Dereham branch of the Royal Air Force Association (RAFA) is gearing up for their annual Battle of Britain memorial parade.

The event is held in honour of current and former RAF servicemen and women, including The Few, the pilots who defended Britain against the Luftwaffe in the famous air battle of 1940.

It will take place on Sunday, September 17, beginning at Dereham's Cherry Tree carpark, and continue down through the marketplace and town centre to St Nicholas' Church.

The parade will be followed by a service, held at 11am, to commemorate the bravery of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

A salute at the Dereham War Memorial will be taken by the parade commander, Flight Sergeant Stefan Poole.

Councillor Hilary Bushell, mayor of Dereham, as well as dignitaries from the RAF, and squadron leader Mike Alden will also be in attendance.

Members of the Dereham and Swaffham RAFA, representatives of the Royal British Legion, and cadets from Dereham and many other groups across the region will participate in the parade.

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Flight Sergeant Poole described the parade as an important part of: 'keeping the tradition going', and added that it was nice to see: 'a real mix of young and old' involved with the memorial.

He said: 'We try and get as many people involved as possible.

'We're looking forward to it.'

The parade will mark the end of Wings Appeal Week, which begins on Saturday, September 9.

The Wings Appeal is the RAFA charity which supports and raises funds for RAF serving and ex-servicemen and women.

The RAFA will be collecting in Morrison's supermarket throughout the week, and on Friday, September 15, a street collection will take place in Dereham Marketplace and along the high street, beginning at 9-10am and ending around 4-5pm.

Flight Sergeant Poole added that the exact timings would depend on weather conditions, as many collectors will be elderly veterans.

On Saturday, September 16, a street collection will be done by Swaffham cadets.

The total raised during Wings Appeal Week in 2016 was £1,961, which included £148 collected during the church service, and £1,813 raised throughout the week.

Organisers are hoping to beat that total during this year's week.

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