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Hundreds gather in Norwich and Dereham to pay tribute to those who fought in the Battle of Britain

PUBLISHED: 14:09 17 September 2017 | UPDATED: 17:24 17 September 2017

The RAF Association Battle of Britain memorial parade in Dereham. Picture: Ian Burt

The RAF Association Battle of Britain memorial parade in Dereham. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2017

Hundreds gathered across Norfolk to pay tribute to the men and women who took part in the Battle of Britain more than 70 years ago.

The RAF Association Battle of Britain memorial parade in Dereham. Picture: Ian BurtThe RAF Association Battle of Britain memorial parade in Dereham. Picture: Ian Burt

Hundreds gathered across Norfolk to pay tribute to the men and women who fought in the Battle of Britain more than 70 years ago.

In Norwich, members of the public and various dignitaries - including chief constable Simon Bailey - attended a service at the city’s Cathedral.

Meanwhile, in Dereham, the town’s RAF Association (RAFA) marched through the marketplace on Sunday, September 17 to honour those who gave their lives.

The parade began at Cherry Tree carpark and proceeded through the market and down Church Street.

The RAF Association Battle of Britain memorial parade in Dereham. Picture: Ian BurtThe RAF Association Battle of Britain memorial parade in Dereham. Picture: Ian Burt

It culminated with a service at 11am at Dereham’s St. Nicholas’ Church.

Councillor Hilary Bushell, mayor of Dereham, in addition to dignitaries from the RAF, and squadron leader Mike Alden were in attendance at the parade.

Members of the Dereham and Swaffham RAFA, representatives from the Royal British Legion (RBL), and the Dereham air cadets region marched in the parade, which was led by the Dereham Town Band.

Read more: Dereham RAF association prepare for Battle of Britain parade and Wings Appeal Week

The RAF Association Battle of Britain memorial parade in Dereham. Picture: Ian BurtThe RAF Association Battle of Britain memorial parade in Dereham. Picture: Ian Burt

A salute at the war memorial was taken by parade commander, Flight Sergeant Stefan Poole.

He said: “We’ve had nice weather, and its nice to see the cadets and the veterans together.

“The parade is a big part of the community and very important to the veterans.

“Next year, with the 100th anniversary of the RAF, we’re crossing our fingers for a big one.

The RAF Association Battle of Britain memorial parade in Dereham. Picture: Ian BurtThe RAF Association Battle of Britain memorial parade in Dereham. Picture: Ian Burt

He added: “We don’t have a total yet for our Wings Appeal collection, as it finished yesterday.

“But it went well, with the Swaffham cadets’ street collection taking place on Saturday.”

Former RAF engineer, and RAFA member, John English, 78, attended the parade, with his wife Iris, 78, and friend, former RAF bomb disposal expert, Geoffrey Curtis, 89, and his wife, Valerie Curtis, 77.

Mr English said: “We wouldn’t miss the parade for anything.

(L-R): John English, 78, Iris English, 78, Valerie Curtis, 77, and Geoffrey Curtis, 89, pictured outside Dereham St. Nicholas Church. Photo: Jessica Frank-Keyes(L-R): John English, 78, Iris English, 78, Valerie Curtis, 77, and Geoffrey Curtis, 89, pictured outside Dereham St. Nicholas Church. Photo: Jessica Frank-Keyes

“We’re all ex-RAF, and this is the Battle of Britain, which is so important to remember.

“It is nice to have the parade here in Dereham. Travel can be a problem for the older people, so its good to have a hometown parade.

“Dereham is lucky, as we have a wonderful band, and a good air cadet force.”

Mr English worked for 22 years as an engineer, living in Cyprus and Malaya, and Mr Curtis worked in Libya.

The RAF Association Battle of Britain memorial parade in Dereham. Picture: Ian BurtThe RAF Association Battle of Britain memorial parade in Dereham. Picture: Ian Burt

Read more: Dereham remembers The Few at Battle of Britain parade

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