Norfolk village celebrates ties with USA by unveiling new sign
- Credit: Kevin Osman
There might be more than 3,000 miles between them, but one Norfolk village has been keen to celebrate its strong links with the USA.
A new sign was unveiled in Wicken Green, near Fakenham, on Saturday (July 30) as part of its ongoing Queen's Jubilee celebrations.
It recognises historic ties with the United States, whose airmen were based at RAF Sculthorpe during the Cold War.
The village of Wicken Green was only conceived in 1996 - four years after the base's closure.
Lieutenant Colonel Michael W Bien, the new operations commander of the 67th Special Operations Squadron, unveiled the sign, alongside three other members of the 67th Squadron.
The privately-funded sign came into being courtesy of local community spirit, both in terms of fundraising and the creation of the sign itself.
Mark White, who oversees various village projects and came up with the concept and design, said they were quoted around £10,000 to get a town sign company to design, construct and install a new sign.
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Mr White said that it was a cost way beyond their budget, hence the community getting together to create our the new sign for a tiny fraction of that price.
Residents got together to create a worthy tribute designed to last a century, beginning in the Platinum Jubilee year.
Made of heavy galvanised steel, the sign is some 30mm thick and depicts a rowan, or wicken-tree.
Another resident, Nick Way, who works as a design engineer for King's Lynn based R&L Engineering, utilised his company to create the CAD files from the design and plasma cut the sign top. They manufactured and galvanised the sign and post at a cut price.
A team of village volunteers dug out and concreted in the base, and a local tree surgeon, Jon Court, brought in a heavy excavator to lift the 180kg steel top onto the steel post.
Iain Urquhart, of the Green Park Rural Centre and the village jubilee committee, paid a local builder to build a stone and brick base to complete the project.
The signing ceremony also featured the American national anthem, the pledge of allegiance, the Ode to the 47th, a bugler, choir and military vehicles.
There was also a parade through the village of the ‘Silver Pheasant’, a symbol of the heroism displayed by the American servicemen in 1953 during the terrible floods that devastated the Norfolk coastline.