Shoppers back campaign to save Norfolk airbase

Shivering shoppers at Sheringham and Cromer were happy to stop and sign petitions to save RAF Marham on a bitterly cold Saturday morning.

North Norfolk lost its own air base at Coltishall four years ago, so is aware of the impact closure can cause economically and emotionally.

MP Norman Lamb, who braved the elements in both town centres, said: 'I did not known until we talked to people who much they identified with Marham.

'Some have a close association with it, and the EDP campaign has brought the issue to a wider audience.

Hundreds of people signed up in the twin towns, with 'virtually everybody stopping to sign up and have a word,' he added.

'They see the importance of Marham to the Norfolk economy. From both a military and economic perspective there is a very powerful case to retain Marham,' said Mr Lamb.

He was fully committed to support the base in its battle against rival Lossiemouth in Scotland where there was a 'noisy' campaign in progress.

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'It is important Norfolk fights its corner,' said the Liberal Democrat MP who had been in direct contact with the party's defence minister Nick Harvey over the issue.

There were echoes of the Coltishall situation, where the area had been lucky enough to have a jail on part of the disused airfield mitigate against the jobs and economic blow when the base shut in 2006.

But there were also emotional attachments between RAF bases and their surrounding areas, which were part of Norfolk's 20th century history, he added.

North Norfolk District Council leader Virginia Gay this week said: I'm sure that everyone in North Norfolk wishes the Make it Marham campaign every success.

'Despite all our efforts Norfolk lost RAF Coltishall, but overwhelming economic and military reasons make it very clear that we must not lose RAF Marham as well.'

The Make it Marham petition, which has been backed by more than 25,000 names, is due to be handed to the government on Tuesday.