Great news for the county today, as we share the announcement that the Royal Air Force Red Arrows will be staying in Lincolnshire.
Today, 19 May 2020, we receive the news that the RAF Red Arrows are to remain in Lincolnshire after a very successful county-wide campaign.
Lincolnshire has had strong links with the Royal Air Force since before its founding in 1918 and the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team has been synonymous with Lincolnshire for more than 30 years.
Visit Lincoln’s campaign to keep the Red Arrows was heavily supported by Lord Cormack, former Lincoln MP Karen Lee, dozens of Lincolnshire businesses and organisations, and the 11,434 signatures gained on the online petition.
The campaign, which was led by Visit Lincoln’s former CEO, Lydia Rusling, was in response to the planned closure of RAF Scampton in 2022 and the Red Arrows relocating to a site “more fit for purpose”.
Three sites were identified as being potentially suitable for the future of the RAF’s Red Arrows, including RAF Wittering in Cambridgeshire, RAF Leeming in North Yorkshire and RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire.
In response to the petition, on 11 June 2019 the Ministry of Defence responded: “The RAF remains committed to Lincolnshire, which is one of three potential locations for basing the Red Arrows.”
Lincolnshire is rich in aviation heritage and attracts visitors from all over the world – which came to the fore in 2018 with the county’s RAF Lincolnshire tourism campaign , marking the centenary of the RAF.
100 Years of the RAF in Lincolnshire
While there is no exact date, once RAF Scampton closes, the Red Arrows will move to RAF Waddington, it was confirmed today by the Ministry of Defence.
The Ministry of Defence recognises the historical significance of particular sites, including Scampton, and will work with new owners to deliver a long-term sustainable solution for preserving their important heritage.
Scampton’s history is iconic in Lincolnshire and famously linked to the Dambusters Raid of 1943, where Wing Commander Guy Gibson led 19 Lancaster bombers on a successful mission to Germany.
RAF Waddington, located four miles south of Lincoln, is a busy operational airfield and home to a fascinating Heritage Centre, and said to be an ‘obvious choice’ with multiple intelligence and drone operations controlled from the base.
Since their new planned headquarters at RAF Waddington will only be 10 miles away from their current home, The Ministry of Defence also confirmed today that the Red Arrows will continue to practice above the city and Scampton.
“It is good news that we have an excellent base for them at RAF Waddington, and I am delighted that they will be able to continue to practice their extraordinary aerobatic talents above RAF Scampton in their home county of Lincolnshire”, said Defence Minister Jeremy Quin.
Charlotte Goy, Interim CEO at Visit Lincoln, said: “This is really wonderful news and will lift everyone’s spirits during what has been a very difficult time, I’d like to thank everyone who joined our campaign and supported the petition.”
“Our attention must now turn to ensuring the heritage and history of the base continues to be shared with residents and visitors. The Heritage Centre, the story of the Dambusters and the expertise of the volunteers are all valuable assets, should continue to be preserved.”
The online petition map demonstrated the widespread support the campaign had gathered. Supporters included residents from as far as the Shetland Isles, all the way to the Cornish countryside.
To keep the campaign’s momentum building, on 4 June 2019 a group of key Lincolnshire representatives made their way to the House of Lords to endorse Visit Lincoln’s campaign further.
L-R: Lord Cormack, Karen Lee former Lincoln MP, Gainsborough MP Sir Edward Leigh, Lydia Rusling former Visit Lincoln CEO, James Pinchbeck, Marketing Partner at Streets Chartered Accountants, and Julian Free, Deputy Vice Chancellor People Services & Operations at the University of Lincoln
James Pinchbeck, Marketing Partner at Streets Chartered Accountants, was among the delegates to attend the event at the House of Lords.
“What could be better news, than to hear that the Reds will continue to be based in the county, a place which feels like their natural home. They have and no doubt will continue to be a key part of the fabric of the community, helping to boost the prosperity of the region and in particular our visitor economy.
For the wider business community the Red Arrows are an iconic brand helping to inspire and promote the diverse number of businesses engaged in aviation, space, engineering, and technology across Greater Lincolnshire.
The news really couldn’t come at a better time as we all consider the impact of the challenges we face at the moment. Confirmation that the team is here to stay will be a real lift to one and all.” Said James.
Visit Lincoln would like to thank Paul Banton, Ruddocks, Julian Free of the University of Lincoln, Daniel Ionescu, Stonebow Media and James Pinchbeck, Streets Chartered Accountants, for working together with us as part of the campaign to keep the Red Arrows in Lincolnshire.
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The Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team - The Red Arrows - are proudly synonymous with Lincolnshire skies. ✈️🌤 . The thundering rumble of the engines above us is a common sound here in the county, and a sight not to be missed! . . . 📸 @duncamera_ . #LoveLincoln #RAFLincolnshire