100 Events for Marham

As we rapidly approach the half-way point of RAF Marham’s Centenary Year, it’s time to take stock and look back at some of the highlights so far and the incredible achievements which service personnel, the whole force, contractors and the local community have undertaken to celebrate this very special occasion and to look forward to the events that are just around the corner.

The new year marked the start of the very special RAF Marham Centenary with the  aim to undertake 100 events to celebrate the occasion. The events which have been selected for the ‘100’ need to meet the criteria: to enhance our personnel’s ‘Force Development’ and their knowledge of the Station or Service history; charity events undertaken with a personal link or for a Service charity; physical or sporting challenges; celebrating the station’s history or offering personnel the opportunity to undertake an activity that would not usually be available on a day-to-day basis. To date, these aims have been met, and exceeded.

The centenary launch event was held on the 19th January 2016, with a number of local dignitaries in attendance. Presentations and a brief gave insight into RAF Marham’s past, present and future. The event was extremely successful, with a brilliantly timed flypast and unveiling of the ‘100 Logo’ on the Tornado gate guardian, which should soon be decorated with the centenary tailfin artwork. You will also notice that the centenary logo is now proudly displayed on all of the station’s gate guardian aircraft. The events and challenges are being continually added to the list which means that the station is not that far from the target of 100 events.

The first charity event for the centenary was WO McLean’s Ironathon where her team undertook a 24 hour ironing marathon and raised funds from across the station for the RAF Benevolent Fund. February began with a very special visit to RAF Marham by HM The Queen, RAF Marham’s Honororary Air Commodore and whilst meeting a number of service and civilian personnel, the former Station Warrant Officer provided Her Majesty with an overview of the history of the station. Also in February was the first of our partnership events with the Tornado steam train which offered a few lucky station personnel a chance to ride on the footplate of a steam train and the opportunity to perform some basic maintenance tasks on the train; this took place on the ‘Red Rose’ Valentine’s Day trip from London Paddington to Worcester. The Station is privileged to have this very rare partnership with the Tornado steam train.

In March a good turnout was seen for the incredible Boxing Night organised by the RAF Marham RAFA Branch with the RAF Marham Boxing Club. During April, the Station provided a Tornado flypast and a stand at the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship at Silverstone. This was an incredible opportunity for some Station motorsport fans to see the racing close-up and assist with a stand that showcased our history. The RAF Marham Scout Group undertook the national ‘Clean for the Queen’ initiative and did their bit towards improving our local area.

Downham Market Council held a splendid evening event to recognise the Centenary of RAF Marham and invited the Station Commander and a number of personnel to a reception which recognised the importance of the Station within the local community.

On the ‘100 list’ personal challenges seem to be a popular idea and a number of physical challenges have taken place so far. To date the toughest has to have been Flt Lt Si Phillips completing 100 miles on foot within 24 hrs, which involved a lot of running!! But a large number of diverse health and fitness activities have also taken place, from the caterers bikeathon and rowathon to a small team from RAF Marham who plan to climb Kilimanjaro later in the year! The Station held its annual Sports and Health Fair to encourage personnel to try new activities and promote a healthy lifestyle. The RAF Benevolent Fund’s Ben Elephant ran the London Marathon on 17 April and the person behind the mascot turned out to be Marham’s very own PTI FS Darrel Keane! RAF Marham kids collectively ran 100 miles, another 100 laps of RAF Marham peri- track event was held on the 26 May and a 10k Moonlight Walk on 30 June is planned. On a slightly different note to the physical activities, the Station Commander’s wife, Kate, held an incredible cake sale to raise funds for the RAF Marham Centenary Mount Kilimanjaro Climb.

Key events coming up in the future are the Royal Norfolk Show on 29 and 30 June  where RAF Marham’s centenary is one of the show’s main themes. Also planned for 1 July, is an incredible 100 passenger flights in a range of service and civilian aircraft that is available to all service, whole force personnel and families to apply for; this is going to be a truly memorable day! Furthermore, the Bull roundabout will be rededicated on the exact birthday of RAF Marham that is 1 September 2016 and also during this month will be the dedication of a memorial, within the Heritage Centre, to those personnel who have lost their lives whilst serving at the Station.

You can see that the events and challenges that are being undertaken are beyond what would normally be expected at a Station that is celebrating their Centenary; however, that’s what makes us RAF Marham!

If you’ve got an idea that encapsulates the celebration of our centenary, then contact the Project Officer, Squadron Leader Steve Donnellan, on 01760 337261 extn 7409 to see if we can add it to the list; but be quick as we are nearly at the 100 events…