Turnstone, by John Maiden, October 7, 2014

John Peak, Michael and Kathy Leming with replica signs presented by Norfolk Green 's general manager, Richard Pengelly, on board the Reis Leming bus. ANL-140610-100152001
John Peak, Michael and Kathy Leming with replica signs presented by Norfolk Green 's general manager, Richard Pengelly, on board the Reis Leming bus. ANL-140610-100152001

A few readers might be old enough to remember a satirical TV sketch show from the 1960’s called That Was The Week That Was.

Well, the week certainly had more than its fair share of memorable moments.

The public meeting at Smithdon High School on Monday, organised by Hunstanton & District Civic Society, provided an opportunity for local residents to voice their concerns about the proposed development on land south of Hunstanton.

Our MP was unable to attend, but in an extract from a letter to a resident of Harry’s Way, he made it clear that he is opposed to the planning application for 166 new homes on this land when other sites are available closer to the town centre, more than capable of delivering up to 300 new homes!

On Wednesday members of Hunstanton town council’s general purposes committee were asked to consider his objections to the proposed development, which were reiterated in a letter to me.

Several of my colleagues made it abundantly clear that in spite of the arguments put forward by Henry Bellingham, they had no intention of withdrawing their own support for the planning application, but a recommendation for the contents of the letter to be noted was passed unanimously.

West Norfolk Council leader Nick Daubney was also in attendance and revealed for the first time why he had been unable to build the new pier at Hunstanton, promised in the Conservative election manifesto for 2007.

It turns out that our new pier was just another unfortunate victim of the recession!

But when it came to the highlight of the week on Saturday, West Norfolk Council worked faultlessly with the town council as the Freedom of Hunstanton was granted to the USAF 67th Special Operations Squadron and to members of Reis Leming’s family.

It should also be noted that Reis’s widow, Kathy and his son Michael had to fly all the way from the state of Oregon to be present and collect their scrolls in person, together with those for Michael’s sisters, Debra and Gail, who were unable to attend.

In his acceptance speech, Lt Col John Peak, Commander of the 67th SOS, said he was extremely honoured and humbled to receive the Freedom scroll on behalf of the entire 67th family, past and present.

He spoke with feeling about the special bond between the Squadron and Hunstanton, which was forged out of tragedy 61 years ago, and paid tribute to Freeman A Kilpatrick, as well as Reis Leming, for showing such exceptional courage on the night of January 31, 1953.

In her address, town mayor Carol Bower spoke eloquently about the very special relationship, but admitted to being almost lost for words when John Peak presented her and the entire town of Hunstanton with a special memento in the form of a framed painting by local artist, Geoff Pleasance, who has been associated with the 67th for more than 40 years.

I know just how Carol felt, because I was similarly taken by surprise on November 10, 2012 when Lt Col Shelley Rodriguez presented me with a framed picture by another artist, Ronald Wong, in recognition of my part in helping to organise a parade to mark the 60th anniversary of the 67th.

It was good to catch up with Shelley at the civic reception and reflect on the links forged between Hunstanton and the 67th since 2011, when squadron historian, Mark Service first made contact with me in my capacity at the time as Civic Society chairman...