Friday, 24 February 2012

Top award for campaign to save RAF Marham

I was absolutely delighted yesterday to join my editor in collecting the certificate and trophy after it was announced the Eastern Daily Press had won community campaign of the year at EDF Energy's East of England media awards for its Make it Marham campaign - something I am so proud to have been a part of.

It feels like such a long time ago now since the Make it Marham campaign was launched but it was a truly brilliant campaign from start to finish. In just over two weeks in November 2010, 37,000 people signed our petition to save the base which is a staggering amount given the timeframe and it really felt like the campaign had united Norfolk. Throughout that two-week period my office in King's Lynn (the nearest to Marham) were tasked in pulling together a double-page spread on the campaign most days which included stories on the latest signature count, the bases' history and celebrities backing the campaign.

I was delighted to have been allowed to write so many pieces during that two-week period. Looking back, I am so very proud of the work I did from the launch of the campaign, to joining MPs and council leaders in taking the signatures to Number 10 Downing Street, to carrying on the fight as Marham jets flew over the skies in Libya and then being sat in the office in King's Lynn as the government announced the Tornado station would stay open – saving more than 5,000 local jobs and more than £1bn for the local economy.

To be honest, it wasn't just a win just for the newspaper. The award belongs to everyone who got involved in the Make it Marham fight - from the Norfolk people who signed the petition to our MPs and councillors who joined us in taking the fight all the way to Parliament. It was a real win for Norfolk and just shows you what can be achieved when Norfolk and its leaders unite behind an issue with determination and speak with one voice.

The fight to secure Marham's long-term future, however, is still far from over. With the Tornadoes likely to be replaced by the Joint Strike Fighter in 2020, Make it Marham campaigners are now fighting for the base to be the home of the new hi-tech military jets and I am sure when the time is right, a new campaign will be launched to unite Norfolk once more. For now, I just hope I will be the reporter writing the front page story for the EDP when it is (hopefully) announced the JSF fleet is moving to Marham.


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