Dereham gets ready to welcome 'bigger than ever' Battle of Britain parade
The Dereham branch of the Royal Air Forces Association (RAFA) is getting ready for its annual Battle of Britain memorial parade.
The event is held in honour of current and former RAF servicemen and women, including The Few - the group of pilots who defended Britain against the Luftwaffe in the air battle of 1940.
This year is especially poignant as it also marks the centenary of the RAF, explained parade commander Flight Sergeant Stefan Poole.
“As this year marks the 100th Anniversary of the RAF we are hoping that the parade will be extra well attended,” he said.
“In addition to the usual parade and church service, it is intended that there will be a larger than usual attendance by the local Air Cadets as they are the Royal Air Force of the future.”
The parade will take place on Sunday September 16 and begin at Dereham’s Cherry Tree carpark at 11.15am, before continuing through the marketplace and town centre to St Nicholas’ Parish Church.
A salute at the Dereham War Memorial will be taken by Mr Poole. The town’s mayor Hilary Bushell, dignitaries from the town and the RAFA, and squadron leader Mike Alden will also be in attendance.
Members of the Dereham and Swaffham RAFA, representatives of the Royal British Legion, and cadets from Dereham and many other groups across the region will also participate in the parade, which will be lead by Dereham Band.
Flight Lieutenant Tracey Allan, commanding officer of 1249 (Dereham) Squadron, said a lot of effort was going into this year’s event.
“Usually we have around 50 cadet personnel taking part,” she said. “But this year it’s going to be bigger than ever and we are going to more than double that up to around 120.
“The cadets will also have the opportunity to take part in a formal parade for inspection in front of Mike Alden.”
The parade will be followed by a service held at 11.30am to commemorate the bravery of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
It will also mark the end of Wings Appeal Week.
The Wings Appeal is the RAFA charity which supports and raises funds for RAF serving and ex-servicemen and women.
Collections will take place in Dereham on September 14 and in Swaffham on September 15.