Mammoth Effort – Marham Team smash Tornado Pull Record

Recently, four teams from RAF Marham competed against the clock (and each other) to pull a Tornado GR4 for a mile.

Aiming to beat the 20 minute record set by RAF Lossiemouth in 2012, teams from TIW, Eng Ops, AESF and BAE Systems, as well as Balfour Beatty contractors building the new F-35 Lightning facilities, pulled the 17-tonne aircraft to raise money for the RAF Benevolent Fund.  Two Air Training Corps cadet teams also rose to the challenge, pulling the aircraft for a shorter distance to raise money for their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme and to fund the Tornado Trail in King’s Lynn to celebrate the Station Centenary.

Ben Elephant set the teams off and the Station Commander, Gp Capt Rich Davies, was on hand to cheer on the teams, who needed determination and grit to keep the aircraft moving.  The teams were made up of 10 – 20 personnel, many of whom had been training for some time for the challenge.  Two teams pulled at the same time, in opposing directions, on the disused runway at RAF Marham, which features a dip mid course – so both teams had a rolling start but a difficult uphill slope to finish – and the focus for competition and rivalry was where and when they crossed in the middle!  The winning time, in an amazing time of 16 mins and 6 seconds, was achieved by the BAE Systems team.

Organising the event, Wg Cdr Andy Fell said: “We were keen to just see if we could do this, but once we had launched the idea, it really took off – despite Marham being really busy, it is great to see the whole range of Station personnel, Service, contractors, reservists and cadets, up for a challenge and having a great time.”  Each team member who took part was asked to pay an entrance fee as well as getting sponsorship for their team, resulting in more than £1000 being raised for the RAF Benevolent Fund.

RAF Marham is one of many RAF stations where the RAF Benevolent Fund has actively supported serving members of the RAF family. Last year alone, £266,885 was spent on serving personnel and family members at RAF Marham.  This included £194,153 on 27 individual grants helping with matters including housing support, £3527 on Relate support, and £51,601 on Airplay, the Fund’s youth support programme.