Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Make it Marham campaign

On Thursday, November 11, I was told that the EDP was launching a campaign to save RAF Marham from closing and stop the UK's Tornado fleet moving to Scotland. So the following day, my obsession with everything to do with RAF Marham began by EDP photographer Ian Burt and me heading to the village of Marham to see how the people there will cope.

There were the two stories that kick started the campaign: RAF Marham is key to lives of many in community & Norfolk unites to Make it Marham

It was a good start and already thousands were backing our campaign as we headed into the weekend and the first real push for signatures happened in Swaffham. Click here for my story following the first weekend of the campaign.

It didn't take long for the amount of people backing our campaign to hit 10,000 before the fight to save RAF Marham moved to Downham Market - South-West Norfolk MP Liz Truss was again leading the volunteers collecting signatures.
The campaign then moved away from West Norfolk with eager volunteers from the EDP going  to Carrow Road to collect more signatures:
Canaries’ fans support for Marham campaign
Then just as I wondered how we would keep the campaign going for a second week, we get a call from Amanda Holden pledging her support.

This story really helped drive signatures and the campaign easily passed 20,000 signatures ahead of two stories which outlined the very real impact of what would happen in the surrounding area in RAF Marham closed: RAF Marham closure would hit Norfolk charities, community groups and schools hard & Closing RAF Marham will ‘hit services for decades'

With the campaign entering its last few days, I had the honour of going along to RAF Marham for a Tornado capability demonstration where I got the chance to speak with the station commanders of both RAF Marham and RAF Lossiemouth and both spoke highly of the Norfolk base. Click here for the story. It was then on Tuesday, November 30, that the Make it Marham campaigners set off to London to hand in a petition of 37,000 signatures: Make it Marham campaign takes off for London & A look back at a fortnight in which Norfolk found its voice

I was invited along with Norfolk MPs, council leaders and other journalists to go down to London and take the petition to Downing Street and here were my tweets and pictures from the day:

Tweet Feed excerpts:
Morning! it's early but I'm excited. This is a big day for Norfolk and it couldn't have happened without your support #makeitmarham #EDP

Just waiting for EDP reporter @annabelleedp and photographer @matthewusher be4 heading to Lynn station to join the delegation #makeitmarham

Just arrived at the office - cracking front page of the EDP (left) on this big day for Norfolk #makeitmarham

On my way to Lynn station to meet the petition delegation heading to London. @matthewusher is not a morning person! #makeitmarham

And we are off! Downing Street here we come. Nice and warm on the train - even @matthewusher has perked up a little bit #makeitmarham #EDP

Look at me (right) getting into the commuter spirit on the train to London! #makeitmarham #EDP

WN Council leader Nick Daubney has just told me: "It's staggering the amount of people that have come out in support of RAF Marham."

Highlight of the delegation journey to London has been trying to guess what's in @annabelleedp heavy handbag - any guesses?#makeitmarham

We have arrived at King's Cross. The delegation is in high spirits. Next stop Downing Street. It's snowing really heavy here #makeitmarham

The delegation is on it's way to Downing Street - @liztruss in high spirits and is looking forward to handing in petition #makeitmarham

Moving through security checks for Downing Street - slowly! EDP's Chris Fisher has joined us as has MP Norman Lamb #makeitmarham

Delegation outside 10 Downing Street (left) cries of #Makeitmarham snowing heavy here now

Petition has been handed in. Everyone here delighted with the tens of thousands of signatures that have been collected #makeitmarham

Me in the press enclosure outside number 10 (right) - how terribly exciting! #makeitmarham #EDP

Delegation just had meeting with defence secretary Liam Fox who said Tornado decision will be what's "best for Britain" #makeitmarham

The defence secretary also said his recommendation would be on military grounds - wider issues will dealt with by government #makeitmarham

Delegation (& EDP hacks) moves onto House of Commons for a yummy lunch. EDP team weighing up strongest angles for spread #makeitmarham

On board a train heading back to Lynn with @Annabelleedp & @matthewusher. Great day in London but now need to write 800 words! #makeitmarham
Great pictures by @matthewusher today in difficult conditions & top reporting by @annabelleedp. It'll make a good read in tomorrow's #EDP

What a long but thoroughly enjoyable day. Look out for my piece in tomorrow's #EDP

Tweet Feed ends

Overall it has been an amazing experience to be part of the Make it Marham campaign and to be able to get so involved. I have written so many words about RAF Marham that I am sure the base will stay with me forever!

The petition hand in was obviously the beginning of what could be an excellent victory for the EDP and campaigners across Norfolk. I am sure I will be blogging about it soon enough again.


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