Make it Marham campaign lands in Downham Market

The fight to save RAF Marham moved to Downham Market as the amount of people backing our campaign soared over five figures.

South-West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss was yesterday joined by an energetic team of volunteers including town, borough and county councillors as well as Downham traders to collect signatures.

It has been a week since Ms Truss, councils, businesses and communities joined the EDP in launching Make it Marham and the Conservative MP has been delighted with how the campaign is going.

She said: 'We have had such a great response to the campaign and that makes me feel positive that we can win and save RAF Marham.

'We have got more than 10,000 signatures already and we have other events this weekend at King's Lynn and in Norwich so come Monday we should be in a strong position.

'I really hope to have reached 25,000 signatures by time we have to hand it in later this month.'

She added: 'I have been telling people I have met that the cost of moving the base is huge and I don't think RAF Marham will be closed if it was down to economic reasons.

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'I think we have already shown how much people in Norfolk care about this but we do need to keep demonstrating it's not just an issue for Scotland.'

Miss Truss also spoke to Prime Minister David Cameron earlier this week about the campaign after she bumped into him at Parliament.

She said: 'He asked me how everything was going and I told him about Make it Marham and the excellent response we have had.

'He told me he was well aware of the campaign which is fantastic because I want to make sure it's on everyone's radar.'

Shelagh Hutson, county councillor for Downham Market, was out collecting signatures with the MP.

She said: 'Everybody has been walking up to us wanting to sign and it has shown us that there is so much support for RAF Marham in the town.

'So many people who live and work in this town have a connection with RAF Marham and those working at the base come here to do their shopping so to lose it would be a disaster for the town.

'People are very keen to see the base remain as it is and to get more than 10,000 signatures after a week is a clear sign of the fantastic support.'

Fellow Make it Marham campaigner Jane Harper, from Accounting Controls, in Downham Market, added: 'There has been a brilliant response and I have had a queue of people wanting to sign.

'People realise that losing RAF Marham will have a massive impact on our community because we are so integrated with the base. Downham Market needs RAF Marham to keep the town from dying.'

Downham Market resident Douglas Back said closing RAF Marham would have a huge impact on the housing, business and social life in the town.

He said: 'There are a lot of people who live in the town and work at the base and there are a lot who come here to shop so to take them out of the equation will be tough for traders.

'RAF Marham also puts on various social functions that people can go to and it would be a terrible shame to lose these.

'I would be very sad to see the base closed because it has such a great history. It was a very important station during the war and will become very important again if anything happened.'

Jim Carlile, owner of the town's department store Reeds, added: 'We have had the sheets out in our cafe and lots of our customers have been signing up.

'The sheets have been filling up so quickly we have lost count of how many we have collected so far but it is great to see that so many people are really supportive of the base.'

Meanwhile, West Norfolk radio station KLFM broadcast their breakfast show live from Swaffham yesterday to collect more signatures and raise further awareness of the campaign.

Hannah Griffiths, who presents the morning show with Adam Newstead, said so far almost 2,200 people had signed their online Make it Marham petition.