It's been over a year since the late ex Cadet, Flight Lieutenant Jon Egging, visited his old Air Cadet Squadron at Southam in July 2011. When he came to 2028 he was a real inspiration to all staff and cadets alike. He came from a similar background to many of the current crop of cadets, going to the same School and living in same area. He really made you realize after talking with him, that with hard work anything was possible. On that visit he also explained how the Red Arrows operated from tour of duty to formation flying and air to air moves. He really broke it down and made it seem less complicated than I am sure it really is.
His death in August little more than a month later was a real shock to the nation as well as 2028 Squadron Air Training Corps as fatal accidents are thankfully rare. The public reaction was so great that books of condolence were popping up; 2028 Squadron also created their own book. The Squadron Chaplin came along to support 2028 Cadets and a small service for ‘Red 4' took place at the Squadron HQ on the Monday after the crash.
The whole Squadron was extremely saddened and was determined to do something to mark his passing & held a sponsored 24hour drill event in memory of Jon and all monies raised were to go to a permanent memorial at 2028 Squadron which gave his first insight into life in the RAF. The 24 hour Drill was grueling with 1 hr on and 2hrs off.
Two months later Mrs. Dawn Egging, Jon's Mother, visited 2028 squadron to say thank you for the book of condolences and the 24hour drill event. She also informed us about the recently created Jon Egging Trust with its aim to help children from not as privileged backgrounds as ourselves, to have the same opportunities as us.
Jon, before he died, was in training for a sponsored bicycle ride to raise funds for the Royal Air Force Association and the Fly2help scheme. His wife, Mrs. Emma Egging took Jon's place, the challenge the team were attempting was to cross the UK at its widest point in just 4 days. The route began at St. David's Head in Wales and finished in Lowestoft , with the team needing to cover approximately 100 miles each day.
The route was amended slightly so as to pass through Southam visiting Southam College just before the school day started. Seventeen cadets from 2028 Squadron stood as a guard of honor for the cyclists in and out of Southam College . During their visit many cadets talked to Jon ' s fellow Red Arrow colleagues as well as Mrs. Dawn Egging. It is fair to say that his wife Emma, was too overwhelmed to speak to them herself. Cadets also took time to speak to members of the B.B.M.F who also took part in the ride and discussed what it is like to fly spitfires, hurricanes and the Lancaster bomber.
Finally to allow everyone who new Jon to remember him, 10 cadets were invited to attend the Memorial service at Lincoln Cathedral in November 2011. The day was a celebration of Flight Lieutenant Jon Egging ' s life, it was a very well attended service with senior Royal Air Force Officers, as well as the Italian Air Force display team the “Tricolori”, together with a few celebrities like Brian May of the pop group “Queen” and Carol Vorderman. The Day rounded off with 2028 forming up and marching away knowing that they had done themselves proud.
Jon was one of those rare inspiring people and was a real life example of anything ' s possible if you put your mind to it, with hard work, dedication & determination. One of my main memories of him in the short time I was in his company was his constant smile.
With some of the funds raised 2028 Squadron Cadets decided to create a Squadron Award “ The Jon Egging Trophy ”, which will go to the best cadet on Squadron at the annual award ceremony. But most importantly 2028 have decided build a memorial from the 24hr drill sponsorship funds at the Squadron HQ as a permanent memorial to
Southam's very own Red 4