Hot off the press, is the story that a team of able ironers from RAF Marham have exceeded their fundraising target by ironing shirts during a 24-hour ‘Ironathon’. It was the first charity event to kick off RAF Marham’s centenary year ‘100 events for 100 years’. The team were raising money for the RAF Benevolent Fund, and set themselves a target of £500. Thanks to support from across the base (and the opportunity to have shirts ironed by someone else!) the team exceeded their target and raised over £700. The idea was the brainchild of WO Anne Mclean, which she presented to the Station Benevolent Fund Committee and with two teams of volunteers (no pressed man or woman), a programme was published and with military precision, the kit pre-positioned. The teams of volunteers, all giving up their own time were warmly welcomed as they progressed across the station; a league table keeping track of the number of shirts being ironed was carefully updated. By way of supporting the two teams, some sections also held a ‘bake-off’ ensuring cakes were available to maintain the energy levels of the ‘ironers’. Guest ironers were introduced with Anne’s fellow warrant officers and officers agreeing to work a stint and keep morale high among the team. Throughout the day the team overcame such challenges as the gentlemen enquiring as to the correct length of the dart on a ladies shirt, to which the Dress Regulation Rule book was referred to – quality ironing and military standards clearly were the name of the game.
The afternoon shift saw the RAF Benevolent Fund mascot Ben Elephant taking a break from his marathon training to show his support and encourage more donations, and British Forces Broadcasting Service playing Iron Maiden to keep spirits high. The Royal Navy meteorological team, also based at Marham, challenged the RAF to an ‘Iron-Off ‘ as the Navy took on the blue shirts and the RAF the Navy’s white shirts – the winner is still under discussion.
As the event drew to a close the team were greeted by the Station Commander, Group Capt Rich Davies, and a number of the wing commanders. They donned aprons and did an excellent job by finishing the last few shirts. With almost 380 shirts ironed at the last count and the money counted, everyone agreed it was well worth the lack of sleep and the ironing elbow.
Warrant Officer McLean said, “It was great fun, a bit hot and steamy at times, and a few sore elbows, but we exceeded our target by a massive £200 – thank you so much to everyone who got involved and to those who donated so generously to this very worthwhile cause, I am looking forward to giving the cheque to the RAF Benevolent Fund.”