'Once in a lifetime' - Curator humbled as Queen tours RAF heritage centre

Ian Brown, who runs RAF Sculthorpe Heritage Centre, meets The Queen

Ian Brown, who runs RAF Sculthorpe Heritage Centre (RSHC), said he was humbled and honoured after taking the Queen on a personal guided tour - Credit: Kevin.J.Osman /RAF Sculthorpe Heritage Centre

The curator of an RAF heritage centre has described the honour of giving The Queen a private guided tour. 

Ian Brown, who runs RAF Sculthorpe heritage centre (RSHC) said he was humbled and honoured after taking Her Majesty on a personal guided tour of the centre in Wicken Green, Fakenham, on February 7.

Ian Brown and The Queen with RAF Sculthorpe Heritage Centre volunteers

Ian Brown and The Queen with RAF Sculthorpe Heritage Centre volunteers Jes Woodhead, Steven Willsher, Raymond Brown and Rhiannon Brown - Credit: Kevin J. Osman /RAF Sculthorpe Heritage Centre

Mr Brown introduced The Queen to the centre's volunteer staff and the pair of them explored the relics of the former airbase, showing her the historic collection of artefacts and items relating to the occupancy of the base by the United States Air Force, 47th Bombardment Wing.

The curator described the visit as a truly special occasion.

“It was a privilege to welcome Her Majesty to the heritage centre for a private visit. It was truly a once in a lifetime moment for us all at RSHC," he said.

"Her Majesty looked radiant and was a delight. She was genuinely interested in our displays and stories of the people who called Sculthorpe home."

Ian Brown, who runs RAF Sculthorpe heritage centre, said The Queen recalled the Hunstanton tidal flood of 1953

Ian Brown, who runs RAF Sculthorpe heritage centre, said The Queen recalled the Hunstanton tidal flood of 1953 - Credit: Kevin J. Osman /RAF Sculthorpe Heritage Centre

The Queen’s private visit to the heritage centre comes as she celebrates her Platinum Jubilee this year.

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She also recalled the terrible events of the tidal flood in  Hunstanton of January 1953, which took place when she was at Sandringham.

The Queen and Prince Philip had hosted Colonel David Jones, Sculthorpe base commander, and his wife, at Sandringham House in the aftermath of the floods.

She was also shown the two George medals awarded to the American servicemen, Reis Leming and Freeman Kilpatrick, who were recognised for their efforts in saving lives, along with the replacement of the Silver Pheasant given to the wing by the people of Norfolk.

Ian Brown, curator, giving The Queen a private guided tour of RAF Sculthorpe Heritage Centre

Ian Brown, curator, giving The Queen a private guided tour of RAF Sculthorpe Heritage Centre - Credit: Kevin J. Osman /RAF Sculthorpe Heritage Centre

The centre recently reunited the two medals at their airbase in November 2021. 

Mr Brown added: “We wish to send a huge thank you to Her Majesty for this very special visit in the 70th year of her reign, and our thoughts, love, and best wishes will be with her throughout this coming year.”

RAF Sculthorpe Heritage Centre is now preparing for its next open day on March 6, where it will be showcasing its new display depicting the visit by Her Majesty.

Ian Brown, curator, giving The Queen a private guided tour of RAF Sculthorpe Heritage Centre

Ian Brown, curator, giving The Queen a private guided tour of RAF Sculthorpe Heritage Centre - Credit: Kevin J. Osman /RAF Sculthorpe Heritage Centre