RAF Lakenheath’s Madhatters host children’s Christmas party

A child poses with an airmen from Lakenheath's 492nd Fighter Squadron while wearing a flight helmet during a -Christmas Party hosted by the squadron at Duxford Imperial War Museum. (USAF photo/ A1C Christopher Sparks)
A child poses with an airmen from Lakenheath's 492nd Fighter Squadron while wearing a flight helmet during a -Christmas Party hosted by the squadron at Duxford Imperial War Museum. (USAF photo/ A1C Christopher Sparks)

Members of RAF Lakenheath’s 492nd Fighter Squadron have kept up a Christmas tradition begun by US airmen in World War Two.

They hosted a children’s Christmas party at the Imperial War Museum Duxford, just as their forbears did.

Lt Col Jeremy Renken, 492nd FS commander, said: “The 492nd ‘Madhatters’ are honored to continue a long-standing tradition of American airmen helping children and families in challenging circumstances celebrate Christmas.

“This tradition goes all the way back to World War Two, when the area around Duxford hosted children evacuated from towns devastated by bombardment.”

About 80 children and their families from charities across England were at the party, including from Starlight Children’s Foundation which grants wishes and provides fun to children and teenagers suffering from a serious or terminal illness in hospitals and hospices.

A captain with the 492nd said: “Last year my wife and I attended this amazing event and were truly moved by the experience,

“Organizing the event this year and seeing the joy on the children’s faces has been a truly rewarding experience for everyone. We’re grateful for the opportunity to connect with such resilient and amazing families.”

During the event, airmen and volunteers served lunch, candyfloss and popcorn as well as setting up tables for arts and crafts, ring toss and a pilot dress-up photo booth.

Of course, Santa flew in with gifts.