15:39 1 August 2022
There may be over 3,000 miles between them, but one village in Norfolk was keen to celebrate its close ties to the United States.
A new sign was unveiled in Wicken Green, near Fakenham, on Saturday July 30, as part of the ongoing Queen’s Jubilee celebrations.
It acknowledges historic ties to the United States, whose airmen were based at RAF Sculthorpe during the Cold War.
Wicken Green Village was not designed until 1996 – four years after the base was closed.
Lt. Col. Michael W Bien, the new operations commander for the 67th Special Operations Squadron, unveiled the panel, along with three other members of the 67th Squadron.
The privately funded sign was born out 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 the monument cost around £10,000.
Residents have come together to create a worthy tribute designed to last a century, beginning in the year of the Platinum Jubilee.
Made of heavy galvanized steel, the sign is approximately 30mm thick and depicts a mountain ash or wick.
Another resident, Nick Way, who works as a design engineer for R&L Engineering based in King’s Lynn, hired his company to create the CAD files from the design and plasma cut the top of the sign. They fabricated and galvanized the sign and post at a discounted price.
A team of village volunteers dug and concreted the base, and a local arborist, Jon Court, brought in a heavy excavator to lift the 180kg steel top onto the steel pole.
Iain Urquhart of Green Park Rural Center and the Village Jubilee Committee paid a local builder to build a stone and brick base to complete the project.
The signing ceremony also included the U.S. National Anthem, Pledge of Allegiance, Ode to the 47th, bugler, choir, and military vehicles.
There was also a parade through the village of the ‘Silver Pheasant’, a symbol of heroism displayed by the US military in 1953 during the terrible floods that devastated the Norfolk coastline.