TV professor Brian Cox has visited RAF Coningsby recently in an attempt to inspire pupils and give them aspirations and self-confidence.
Professor Cox, one of the Patrons of the Jon Egging Trust, led an Inspirational Outreach Day at RAF Coningsby for 40 science students from from William Farr, Lincoln Castle Academy, Baines Wallis Academy and The Banovallum School, and 13 students aged 15-16 from Priory Witham Academy who are part of the Trust’s Blue Skies Programme.
The Trust’s Inspirational Outreach Programme, which was piloted in Lincolnshire in 2014, reaches out to a thousand students.
The Blue Skies youth engagement programme with local partners and delivers courses to develop teamwork and leadership skills for students from the crucial ages of 13-16. In Lincolnshire, the programme is run in conjunction with personnel from BBMF RAF Coningsby, RAF Scampton, RAF Waddington, RAF Wittering, and RAF Cranwell.
Professor Cox said “The most important thing that the Trust does is to show its students that there are possibilities out there. We are talking about young people who have low aspirations and low self-confidence – not through any fault of their own. The Jon Egging Trust literally changes their lives and inspires them to be the best they can be.”
The 13 Blue Skies students had the unique opportunity of ‘flying’ in one of RAF Coningsby’s Typhoon simulators, giving them an insight into what it takes to operate the RAF’s most capable fast jet.
Sophie Swinburn, one of the students from the Priory Witham Academy said “I’m really, really excited to be here today because it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to talk to Professor Brian Cox.”
Ian Stevens, also from the Prior Witham Academy also said “I’m excited to see and meet Brian Cox and also get the chance to meet the pilots who fly Typhoons.”
Acting Station Commander, Wing Commander Chris Moon welcomed the JET guests and explained how the inspiration to work hard had affected his career.
“I grew up near Warton and used to see the fighter aircraft on their test flights. When I told my teachers I wanted to be a fighter pilot they said it was highly unlikely that I would achieve my goal. I joined the Air Cadets and realised with hard work to improve my grades I could fulfil my ambition. Being inspired helps you realise and follow your dreams, I hope you all have an inspirational visit today!”
The Jon Egging Trust was set up in memory of Red Arrows pilot Jon Egging (Red 4) who died on August 20, 2011, while completing a display at the Bournemouth Air Festival.
The charity aims to help young people overcome adversity, identify their strengths and work towards their ambitions.
CEO Dr Emma Egging said: “Inspiration is at the heart of everything the Jon Egging Trust does. With our Blue Skies Programme and Inspirational Outreach Scheme, we aim to be inspiring 10000 young people every year by 2020.”
Photo by Hannah Beevers.