Widow of Red Arrow pilot finishes 400-mile cycle ride in Suffolk

IT was a reflective and emotional moment for the widow of a Red Arrows pilot killed in a display, after she completed a 400-mile coast-to-coast charity bike ride at Lowestoft today.

Emma Egging, 32, took the place of her late husband Flight Lieutenant Jon Egging and joined a team of 22 aviators in a cycling challenge, which took them through the Suffolk countryside.

Flt Lt Egging, 33, from Rutland, was killed when his Hawk T1 aircraft crashed during a display at Bournemouth Air Festival in August.

Speaking from Ness Point, the most easterly point in the UK and one of the last places Flt Lt Egging performed at during the Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival, she said: “I shouldn’t even be here now, it should have been Jon. It’s been a bit of a roller coaster ride and the whole point of me being here is to represent him.”

Performing at this year’s Cromer carnival just days before he died on August 20, the ride was dedicated to his memory.

The team, made up of cyclists from the Royal Air Force’s Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, The Red Arrows display team and three former pilots representing the charity Fly2help, crossed the UK at its widest point in just four days. The ride began at St David’s Head in West Wales on Tuesday and the team covered a 100 miles (161km) each day.

The final leg today took them through Cambridge, Newmarket, Bury St Edmunds, Diss, Weybread and Beccles before arriving in Lowestoft, just before 5.30pm.

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Dr Egging added: “It’s been really nice but it’s been sad too. Jon was always more than just a guy in the red suit. He was passionate about getting out there and doing more.”

The team have raised more than �75,000 which will go to support the Royal Air Force Association, the Fly2help scheme and the newly formed Jon Egging Trust, set up by Dr Egging, his mother Dawn, his best friend James and his Red Arrows team mate Flt Lt Ben Plank.

Dr Egging said she was “determined to make something really great” of the trust and said: “Jon would be really proud.”

Flt Lt Plank added: “It’s been four hard days but it’s been fantastic. We’ve been to schools and people have been cheering us along the way - Jon would have been immensely proud. We have raised a lot of money for three very wonderful charities and it’s great news for them.”

At the end of the ride Squadron Leader Dunc Mason praised the team and effort of all involved. He said: “We couldn’t have done this without the support we have had.

“Thank you to everyone who has supported us across the country and throughout our journey.

“Thank goodness we have been inspired by Emma.”

The Jon Egging Trust aims to help young people between 13 and 21-years-old to develop life skills and accredited training through gaining access to a variety of inspirational activities and experiencing the thrill of flight.

• For further information on the challenge, or if you wish to donate online, visit www.400in4.co.uk