American troops parade through Hunstanton. Picture: Paul Tibbs

Hunstanton honoured its heroes on Saturday at a special Freedom of the Town ceremony.

The honour, the first of its kind to be given by the town, went to US Air Force 67th Special Operations Squadron at RAF Mildenhall.

This was in recognition of the role its predecessor played in saving lives in the coastal flood of 1953.

Hunstanton Mayor, Carol Bower, presented the Freedom scroll to Lt Col John Peak, commander of the squadron.

The unit paraded through the town and was greeted by flag-waving crowds who filled the High Street and The Spinney.

The family of Reis Leming were also remembered and granted the freedom of the town. Mr Leming’s widow, Kathy, and son Michael, accepted the honour.

Mr Leming, of the 67th Air Rescue Squadron based at Sculthorpe, saved 27 people from the flood.

Mrs Bower, said: “So many lives have been shaped by the devastation of the 1953 flood and it has left an indelible mark on our community.

“It is the first time we have bestowed the Freedom of the Town, but what the squadron did in 1953 was so exceptional. The town feels so grateful. This event has bound us together and the bonds are very strong.”

Lt Col Peak said the event was a highlight in his career within the USAF.