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Special day in King’s Lynn, as personnel from RAF Marham parade in town

The troops at RAF Marham exercise thier Freedom of the Borough at West Norfolk, matching on the Tuesday Market Place in King's Lynn. Picture: Matthew Usher.

The troops at RAF Marham exercise thier Freedom of the Borough at West Norfolk, matching on the Tuesday Market Place in King's Lynn. Picture: Matthew Usher.

© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2016

It is a day that celebrates our region’s very special link to the Armed Forces and, in particular, those who serve at RAF Marham.

The troops at RAF Marham exercise thier Freedom of the Borough at West Norfolk, matching on the Tuesday Market Place in King's Lynn - A tornado fly past. Picture: Matthew Usher.The troops at RAF Marham exercise thier Freedom of the Borough at West Norfolk, matching on the Tuesday Market Place in King's Lynn - A tornado fly past. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Personnel from the base paraded through King’s Lynn, exercising their Freedom of the Borough.

Two flights of serving airmen formed the Freedom Parade in the Tuesday Market Place, while a Tornado from the base flew overhead.

This year’s parade comes amid RAF Marham’s centenary, which it is marking with a series of celebratory events. In an indication of the continued strategic importance of the base, it also came on a day when its jets - currently based in Cyprus - were involved in operations over Iraq, helping that country’s forces regain control of Fallujah from Islamic State.

Later in the day, the special tie between Lynn and the base was further cemented with the official launch of the Tornado arts trail.

Launch of the King's Lynn Cadets Tornado Trail for 2016 - RAF Marham Station Commander Rich Davies, with Pauline Petch and Borough Mayor David Whitby. Picture: Matthew Usher.Launch of the King's Lynn Cadets Tornado Trail for 2016 - RAF Marham Station Commander Rich Davies, with Pauline Petch and Borough Mayor David Whitby. Picture: Matthew Usher.

This follows the format of last year’s Spitfire trail and sees uniquely-decorated scale models of the jets placed at 16 locations around Lynn.

Following the parade, RAF Marham station commander Group Captain Rich Davies said: “It’s a great honour to be here. This event is always one of the highlights of the station’s calendar.”

Hundreds showed their support by attending the event and cheering on the parade. Among them was Janice Bonnick, from South Wootton, who brought her grandchildren Jack, five, and Christian Bonnick, eight, from St Neots.

She said: “We come every time it’s on. It’s nice for the children to see it, and see a Tornado flying over.”

The station was first granted the Freedom of the Borough in 1981. It allows personnel to march through the town with ‘bayonets fixed, colours flying and bands playing’.

The civic procession, led by the mayor’s staffbearer, swordbearer and macebearers and including Mayor David Whitby and Mayoress Linda Whitby, arrived at Tuesday Market Place just before noon. The mayor then took the salute and inspected the parade before addressing those assembled.

He said: “We have a long and strong association with RAF Marham. The Freedom Parade is the perfect way to celebrate those connections and to thank the men and women from RAF Marham for their service to our community.”

See page 9 for more on the involvement of Marham jets in the Fallujah operation

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