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Imaginarium inspires imaginations at RAF base

The Imaginarium at RAF Leeming. Credit: ITV News

Lights, splashes of colour, and lots of imagination aare brightening the lives of service families in North Yorkshire.

At RAF Leeming, near Bedale, they've created a special room where children can escape the challenges of military life.

The Imaginarium is the first of its kind in the Air Force and it is billed as a space where imaginations can run wild and friendships blossom.

Thomas Hayley and his mother, Tracy, enjoying the Imaginarium. Credit: ITV News

It's really stressful being a military kid, if your parents are away of your Mum or Dad is away, or just even moving camp so often, so we wanted to provide something that is a really calming and relaxing space where parents can bring them."

– Becki Taylor, Community Development Officer, RAF Leeming

As well as boasting a huge interactive screen, there are themed areas and lights for young children or those with additional needs to relax.

There is also space to hold singing and dancing groups.

It has been funded by charity events and a donation from the RAF Benevolent Fund,

We have a lot of time spent in readiness to deploy on operations all around the world and that is really stressful for the families and children, so to give them a place like this, the Imaginarium to come and break out do something very exciting but in a safe, cosseted environment, is really really important."

– Group Captain David Bradshaw, Station Commander

Joint military exercise underway in North Yorkshire

Merlin and Puma military helicopters Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Military aircrew from as far afield as Australia and the Czech Republic are in North Yorkshire as part of an exercise to prepare British crews for war.

Royal Air Force helicopters and fast jets are involved in the training at RAF Leeming, where pilots are gaining advanced skills in air warfare.

Czech airforce L-159 subsonic fighter jet Credit: ITV Tyne Tees
An AW101 (EH101) Merlin military helicopter Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

The base was chosen because it is close to the North Sea and training areas like Otterburn.

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RAF homecoming parade

Band of the RAF Regiment leading homecoming parade Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

The Band of the RAF Regiment have lead a homecoming parade at RAF Leeming.

Around 70 personnel from 34 Squadron RAF Regiment are expected to be presented with medals.

Parade gets underway Credit: ITV Tyne Tees
The Operational Medals are being presented by Air Commodore Bill Gambold Credit: ITV Tyne Tees
Families gather for the parade and medals ceremony Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Full Report: Father and son reunited on Afghanistan tour

A Squadron from RAF Leeming is preparing for its latest deployment to Afghanistan, and for one family from the region it is a more unusual occasion than usual.

Three of the Townsend family work for the same Signals Unit at the North Yorkshire air base.

As Sarah Townsend waves goodbye to her son, she will be welcoming home her husband who is returning from his four month tour of duty.

Watch the full report from Claire Montgomery below.

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