RAF Marham and King’s Lynn Town FC join forces

King's Lynn Town's U18's have linked up with RAF Marham. Pictured are back row (from left) Paul Blan

King's Lynn Town's U18's have linked up with RAF Marham. Pictured are back row (from left) Paul Bland, Flt Lt Charlie Hatch, Sgt Matt Scott and Buster Chapman. Kneeling are (L) Linnets boss Gary Setchell and Dylan Edge. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

They are two of the biggest names in west Norfolk.

And now RAF Marham and King's Lynn Town FC have joined forces in a pioneering - and unusual - link-up.

The pair have announced a new deal which will see the Linnets' under 18s team sponsored by the base's RAF reserves unit.

It is hoped that the partnership between the two will also lead to staff at the base being bussed to The Walks stadium, where the club's first, reserve and youth teams play, to watch matches, add support and boost attendances.

Club bosses believe the link-up is something new both for the RAF and football clubs. King's Lynn Town FC director Paul Bland said: 'It's the culmination of a lot of hard work and it's massive for the team.

'We have had offers from other organisations to sponsor the under 18s, but we wanted something a bit more than just a top name. RAF Marham has that prestige.

'As part of the deal, RAF Marham will also link-up with, and advertise at the Lynn speedway stadium, where matches are shown live on Sky TV.'

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The Linnets' first team manager Gary Setchell said: 'Ross McNeill and John Stocker are the U18s team managers, and we feel honoured and privileged the RAF will be the U18 sponsors. I have not heard of a similar link-up between a club and an RAF base. The sponsorship will help provide towards the running of the team, and for travel, tracksuits and kits.

'In time we will send buses to RAF Marham so their staff can come over to support the team.'

The U18s play in the Thurlow Nunn youth league and forward Dylan Edge, 17, who is the top scorer with 24 goals in nine games, said: 'It's a massive boost for us.'

The 2620 RAF Regiment Reserve Squadron recruits men aged 18-55, and supports the regular RAF regiment on operations and in the UK.

Flight Lieutenant Charlie Hatch, 29, said: '2620 squadron recruits from all over Norfolk, and we are always looking to advertise the fantastic opportunities that reserve service brings. Fitness, teamwork and determination are all values we seek in our reserve personnel, which King's Lynn FC demonstrates every week.'

Sergeant Matt Scott, 41, added: 'On a personal note, it's really nice to be supporting KLFC and youth football as my late grandfather Jim Chandler first played for the club aged 17 in 1934 and went on to play over 100 games for the team.'

Jets based at RAF Marham, from the British base in Cyprus, are currently at the forefront of the UK's fight against Isis/Daesh.