Tyne & Wear

Alnwick RAF base gets civic honour

RAF Sea King
Image caption The base's two Sea King helicopters provide search and rescue cover

Servicemen and women marched through a Northumberland town to celebrate their base receiving an accolade.

RAF Boulmer in Alnwick has received the Freedom of Northumberland - the county's highest civic honour for its national defence and rescue work.

The base is the headquarters for the United Kingdom Air Surveillance and Control System and monitors all air traffic, 24-hours a day.

Marchers descended on Morpeth Town Hall on Thursday to receive the honour.

One of the base's two Sea King helicopters also flew over the town hall just before the ceremony began.

Great privilege

At any one time, staff at RAF Boulmer can be monitoring 1,000 aircraft in the UK's airspace.

Its helicopters also provide round-the-clock search and rescue cover for the North East.

During the 2008 floods which badly affected Morpeth, the helicopters airlifted 40 people to safety.

Officers from the base have also been deployed in Afghanistan and play a key role in the defence of the Falklands.

Station Commander, Group Captain Jeff Portlock, said: "The men and women who serve here realise what a great privilege it is to live in such an outstanding county."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites