Service remembers Binham Priory’s near miss with jet

Villagers in Binham yesterday remembered the day their historic priory had a near miss with a military jet.

A thanksgiving service was held to mark 21 years since the American F1-11 fighter plane plummeted to earth just 300m from the ancient church.

Around 60 people attended, including several who had been in the village at the time of the accident on May 2 1990, and two representatives of the USAF from RAF Lakenheath were also there.

David Frost, secretary of the Friends of Binham Priory, said the gathering allowed villagers to share their stories of the day.

He said: 'It was such a nice thing to do. This was a major incident in the life of the village and it's the sort of thing that shouldn't be totally forgotten.'

One congregation member recalled how he and his wife had dived under the stairs in their home when they saw the jet heading towards the village.

Mr Frost, who had a second home in the village at the time and visited a few days after the crash, said: 'They said the earth shook when the plane hit the field.'

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No-one was hurt in the accident, with the pilot and co-pilot safely ejecting from the aircraft before impact, but a number of homes were damaged by falling debris.

Yesterday's thanksgiving service was followed by a reception where villagers and visitors shared stories about the crash and wandered around an exhibition of photographs and press cuttings from the time.

Mr Frost said a local pilot had told him you could still see signs of the crater caused by the impact of the plane in the field during dry summers.

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