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Tornado flies over King’s Lynn for last time as RAF Marham personnel celebrate freedom of ther borough

PUBLISHED: 15:01 03 May 2018 | UPDATED: 15:47 03 May 2018

The Tornado GR4 flypast above the Tuesday Market Place in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

The Tornado GR4 flypast above the Tuesday Market Place in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2018

At the crack of noon, a Tornado thundered over the Tuesday Market Place for the final time.

Borough Mayor Carol Bower and Group Captain Cab Townsend inspected personnel from RAF Marham. Picture: Ian BurtBorough Mayor Carol Bower and Group Captain Cab Townsend inspected personnel from RAF Marham. Picture: Ian Burt

The iconic warplane performed a flypast as servicemen and women from RAF Marham paraded to celebrate the freedom of the borough of West Norfolk.

First granted in 1981 - the year the Tornado force came to West Norfolk - the honour allows personnel to march through the town with bayonets fixed, colours flying and bands playing.

Today, the occasion has become an opportunity for local people to show their support of the station and its staff during the RAF’s centenary year.

Hundreds gathered as the Band of the Royal Air Force College Cranwell marched onto the market place with Marham personnel, carrying the standard of IX(B) squadron.

Personnel from RAF Marham exercised their freedom of the Borough at a parade on the Tuesday Market Place in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian BurtPersonnel from RAF Marham exercised their freedom of the Borough at a parade on the Tuesday Market Place in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

The ranks were inspected by West Norfolk mayor Carol Bower and base commander group Capt Ian “Cab” Townsend.

Mrs Bower said: “As mayor I would like to formally welcome you as you exercise your rights under the freedom of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk.

“I’m sure everyone gathered here today on the Tuesday Market Place, be they family, friends or general public will join me in wishing the RAF well on its anniversary.”

Mrs Bower added the future of Marham would be secured by the arrival of the F35 Lightning aircraft this summer, ensuring its contribution to the local economy would continue.

Personnel from RAF Marham exercised their freedom of the Borough at a parade on the Tuesday Market Place in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian BurtPersonnel from RAF Marham exercised their freedom of the Borough at a parade on the Tuesday Market Place in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

Group Capt Townsend said: “It’s a great honour as station commander of RAF Marham to exercise the freedom of the Borough of king’s Lynn and West Norfolk.”

He added the Tornado, which had arrived at Marham in 1981, had been in operation continuously for the last 27 years.

“That is quite frankly amazing,” he said. “We couldn’t do what we do without the support of the local community, particularly the people of the Borough of king’s Lynn and West Norfolk.”
There was a standing ovation as personnel marched off the square led by the band.

Some £300m has been invested at Marham, where a new operational centre, maintenance buildings and runways have been built ready for the F35’s arrival.

Borough Mayor Carol Bower met pupils from North Wootton Primary School. Picture: Ian BurtBorough Mayor Carol Bower met pupils from North Wootton Primary School. Picture: Ian Burt

The aircraft’s main base will be in West Norfolk, with jets also carried on board the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth.

The freedom of the Borough parade in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian BurtThe freedom of the Borough parade in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

The freedom of the Borough parade in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian BurtThe freedom of the Borough parade in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

Local school children waved Union flags during the Freedom of the Borough parade. Picture: Ian BurtLocal school children waved Union flags during the Freedom of the Borough parade. Picture: Ian Burt

Personnel from RAF Marham exercised their freedom of the Borough at a parade on the Tuesday Market Place in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian BurtPersonnel from RAF Marham exercised their freedom of the Borough at a parade on the Tuesday Market Place in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

Personnel from RAF Marham exercised their freedom of the Borough at a parade on the Tuesday Market Place in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian BurtPersonnel from RAF Marham exercised their freedom of the Borough at a parade on the Tuesday Market Place in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

Personnel from RAF Marham exercised their freedom of the Borough at a parade on the Tuesday Market Place in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian BurtPersonnel from RAF Marham exercised their freedom of the Borough at a parade on the Tuesday Market Place in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

Personnel from RAF Marham exercised their freedom of the Borough at a parade on the Tuesday Market Place in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian BurtPersonnel from RAF Marham exercised their freedom of the Borough at a parade on the Tuesday Market Place in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

Local school children waved Union flags during the Freedom of the Borough parade. Picture: Ian BurtLocal school children waved Union flags during the Freedom of the Borough parade. Picture: Ian Burt

Local school children waved Union flags during the Freedom of the Borough parade. Picture: Ian BurtLocal school children waved Union flags during the Freedom of the Borough parade. Picture: Ian Burt


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