RAF to receive special honour in Brampton
Troops will proudly march along the streets of Brampton this weekend - to receive a special honour from the community.
RAF Spadeadam has been invited to receive the Freedom of the Town by Brampton Parish Council at a celebratory event.
Personnel - based at Gilsland, near Brampton - will make their way into the town as part of a freedom parade on Sunday, before an official ceremony and presentation.
Chairman David Moorat said: “Freedom of a town is one of the most prized honours that can be bestowed by a community upon a military unit.
"Brampton is proud to make this award, in recognition and appreciation of the long association between the Royal Air Force and our town, of the highly important role of the Royal Air Force in preserving peace in our land and the considerable risk that they take in serving our country.”
The parade, complete with a Flight of Royal Air Force Spadeadam personnel and headed by the Band of the Royal Armoured Corps, will make its way from William Howard School at 2pm to Front Street for the short ceremony.
Mr Moorat, Claire Hensman, The Lord Lieutenant of Cumbria, and RAF Spadeadam station commander, Wing Commander Ruari Henderson-Begg (CORR), will take the salute and then inspect the personnel.
The citation for the freedom will be read out and then the ceremony to officially hand over the scroll inferring the freedom will be presented to the station commander.
The flight will then march around the Moot Hall, return along Front Street and continue up Main Street and onto Brampton Community Centre.
It's hoped residents will line the streets to see the Freedom Parade and show their support for RAF Spadeadam.
Jez Lawton, project officer for the event, said it's something they're looking forward to celebrating with their families and the community.
"It's a huge honour for us. Last year we celebrated our 40th year since Spadeadam came into being as a Royal Air Force station," he said.
"All our families are based in Brampton, that's where our family quarters are and where we live.
"We have always had a really good relationship with Brampton so to be given this honour, we're absolutely delighted."
He added: "Certainly in terms of the local area, we have often been very quiet, and kind of working in the background, but we are trying to say to our community we are here, we are living among you.
"It's a real honour for us."
Effectively, and more traditionally, he explained the freedom of a town or city means RAF personnel could carry arms through the streets.
But it is mainly a ceremonial honour and cements the long-established links between the training base and the town.
About 180 people, including military personnel and civil servants, are based at the site, while many of their family live in Brampton.