Personnel from Royal Air Force Marham will exercise their Freedom of the Borough and parade through King’s Lynn on Thursday 3 May 2018, and the mayor is urging local residents to come along and support them.
Two flights of serving personnel will form the Freedom Parade, which will start at noon in the Tuesday Market Place, King’s Lynn. The parade will also include a Tornado flypast at noon.
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’. Today, the parade has become an opportunity for local people to show their support of the station and its personnel.
The parade has extra significance this year as it takes place in the RAF’s centenary year, as one of a season of events taking place around the country under the banner of “RAF100”. To mark this occasion, a variety of stands from RAF Marham will be set up in the Tuesday Market Place from 10:30am, for the public to view.
This year’s parade is also significant as it will be the last to include a flypast from Tornados. The aircraft has been strongly associated with RAF Marham for 39 years, and a flypast of a Tornado at the start of the parade will be a fitting way to bid them farewell, before they are replaced with F35 Lightnings next year.
Cllr Carol Bower, Mayor of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk, said: “We have strong links with Royal Air Force Marham, established and deepened over many years, and we are extremely proud of them. The Freedom Parade celebrates those connections and expresses our gratitude to the men and women from RAF Marham for their service to our community. I’m delighted that taking part in this historic event will be one of my last duties as mayor, and I do hope lots of people join us on the Tuesday Market Place on Thursday 3 May and to show their support, and enjoy this magnificent spectacle.”
The Band of the Royal Air Force College Cranwell will march on to Tuesday Market Place with the RAF Marham personnel, carrying the standard of IX squadron, at 11:40am. Spectators are advised to arrive by 11:30am to get the best view.
The civic procession, led by the mayor’s staffbearer, swordbearer and macebearers, and including Mayor Cllr Carol Bower and her consort Simon Bower, RAF Marham’s Station Commander, the Deputy Lieutenant, the High Sheriff, and scroll-bearers, will proceed from the town hall along High Street and arrive at Tuesday Market Place just before noon. The mayor will be invited by the parade commander to inspect the two flights of personnel before addressing the parade.
RAF Marham Station Commander, Group Captain Ian Townsend, said: “I am very much looking forward to exercising RAF Marham’s Freedom of King’s Lynn at the parade on 3 May. We are exceptionally well supported by our local community and it is a great honour to be able to celebrate our Freedom of the Borough during the RAF’s centenary year.”
For security reasons, there will be some intermittent road closures in Tuesday Market Place and the junctions surrounding it, along with Page Stair Lane and Water Lane, from 8am on Thursday 3 May. The road around Tuesday Market Place will be closed for one hour from around 11:30 for the parade.
Find out more about RAF centenary events at www.raf.mod.uk/raf100