Marham father and son fight decision to shut down RAF base’s Air Cadets unit

RAF Marham Air Cadets faces closure, Stepdad and son Martin Wickham and Nathan Goble have started a Change.org petition to prevent the closure. 'Nathan Goble with his stepdad Martin Wickham with the online petition and letter from the unit. ANL-160511-173746009
RAF Marham Air Cadets faces closure, Stepdad and son Martin Wickham and Nathan Goble have started a Change.org petition to prevent the closure. 'Nathan Goble with his stepdad Martin Wickham with the online petition and letter from the unit. ANL-160511-173746009

A father and son from Marham are fighting a decision to close down the RAF base’s air cadets unit, calling it a “massive mistake”.

On Monday last week, members of the 864DF (Detached Flight), which is based at RAF Marham, received a letter stating that the unit was planned to be closed with the final parade night being on Monday, November 14.

Martin Wickham and his son Nathan Goble, 14, who is one of the 864DF air cadets this would affect, launched a petition on change.org on Tuesday, November 1 in an attempt to overturn the decision.

Mr Wickham said: “We all feel that it is a massive mistake to take away something so special to our future generation, we feel that RAF Marham should be at the forefront in promoting air cadets and possible roles in the military and life skills.

“My son Nathan was so upset [when he found out], it was as if someone came along and ripped his heart out. His love for RAF Marham, the air cadets, and respect for staff has no bounds.”

The letter signed by Wing Commander David Miller states that he is “equally disappointed” at the need to close the unit, but adds that a lack of volunteers was the reason for the closure.

The petition currently has more than 600 signatures withconcerned parents and air cadets from the area and around the country offering their support to the cause.

Mr Wickham added: “Marham air cadets has turned my son into a wonderful young man, this closure is now affecting his future and the future of all the other children in the squadron and the local area.”

A spokeswoman for the RAF air cadets said: “The RAF air cadets made the decision to disband 864DF (Marham) due to a shortage of adult volunteers available to run the unit and to avoid disadvantaging larger neighbouring squadrons who also need staff.

“The team at Norfolk and Suffolk Wing headquarters is currently working with cadets and adult volunteers from 864DF (Marham) to ensure places for them at surrounding units are found.”

A public meeting is due to held on the matter this evening, Mr Wickham said.

The petition can be found here: www.change.org/p/overturn-the-decision-to-close-marham-air-cadets-squadron.

A Facebook group has been set up to gather support for the unit, and can be found by searching for Group Against the Closure of RAF Marham 864DF Air Cadets Squadron on Facebook.