A MAYOR is hoping people show their support for the RAF at an anniversary parade next week.
RAF Wittering will celebrate a half century since it was granted the freedom of Stamford with a march of 150 servicemen and women through the town on Wednesday.
Stamford mayor John Binder says the base is a key part of Stamford’s history and is urging people to line the streets.
“I think we should come out to support the troops, that’s what the parade is all about,” he said.
“It is one of the oldest flying stations in the RAF and has played a prominent part in both military operations and the development of the town.
“The base has brought a lot of economic stability to Stamford. The town has thrived because of it and we should be proud to think they have been part of Stamford for all these years.”
The parade will form at 10.30am in Broad Street and will march towards Browne’s Hospital, led by the Band of the Royal Air Force Regiment.
There will be a general salute to the guests and dignitaries gathered at the hospital at 11am, including the mayor’s party and the scroll bearer, a squadron commander and two squadron leaders from the original parade in 1961.
The mayor will be invited to inspect the guard, and there will be a flypast from a Battle of Britain Spitfire.
The parade will then cut through Ironmonger Street to the High Street and turn right towards Red Lion Square, before marching down St Mary’s Hill for an eyes left outside the town hall.
They will then march along High Street St Martin’s before disbanding and heading back to the town hall.
Coun Binder added: “It’s an honour to be part of the parade.
“I remember the base being bombed during the Second World War. It has been there since I was a boy.
“It is an integral part of our community.”
Group Capt Graham Hill, who has recently taken over as the station commander at Wittering, said he was very proud to be in charge during this significant anniversary parade.
“During my takeover briefings, I was assured by my predecessor that the cordial relations between Stamford and RAF Wittering have continued to thrive over the years,” he said.
“This is gratifying to note, particularly during a period when, as in all the intervening years, the station’s personnel continued to serve with great distinction on operations across the world.
“I know that this friendship and support is of great comfort to the families of those deployed.”