Mayor leads Eastbourne tributes to Red Arrows pilot

Flt Lt Jon Egging
Flt Lt Jon Egging

TRIBUTES have been paid to the Red Arrow pilot who tragically died in a crash at the weekend and the Town Hall flag is flying at half-mast.

Flight Lieutenant Jon Egging, 33, died on Saturday (August 20) following a display at the Bournemouth Air Festival.

One week before the tragic incident, Flt Lt Egging had wowed the crowds at Airbourne and now the Eastbourne people who met him during the airshow are paying tribute to a ‘brave and talented pilot’.

Eastbourne Borough Council opened a book of condolence on Monday morning (August 22) and the town hall and bandstand flags have been flying at half-mast. The Royal Air Force Ensign will also be lowered.

Mayor of Eastbourne, Councillor Carolyn Heaps, who met Flt Lt Jon Egging at this year’s Airbourne, was the first to sign the book of condolence.

She said, “I am really upset and saddened by the news. I found him friendly and extremely enthusiastic about what he was doing.

“He was a vibrant young man and he loved his job and was excited about the future. From what I have heard he was a brilliant pilot and he was brave until the end.

“During the many years of Airbourne the people of Eastbourne have developed an affinity with the Red Arrows and the tragic news of the death of Flt Lt Jon Egging will have shocked the whole town.

“My sincere condolences go to his wife Emma and his family, as well as the whole of the Red Arrows team who have lost a very brave and talented young pilot.

Residents from The Chaseley Trust also met Flt Lt Egging and the other Red Arrow pilots at Airbourne last week. Four residents and staff from the home in South Cliff attended the airshow on Saturday.

Debbie Crook, activities assistant at the Chaseley Trust, was among the staff with the residents at Airbourne and met Flt Lt Jon Egging.

She said, “He was lovely. They all spent a lot of time speaking to the residents and signing autographs.

“I felt very sad when I heard the news. It is not very often you get to meet the Red Arrow pilots and I was in awe.”

“It is just awful to hear the sad news.”

The chief executive of Chaseley has sent a letter of condolence to the Red Arrows on behalf of the trust.

Members of the public who would like to sign the book of condolence can visit Eastbourne Town Hall reception between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday (from 9.30am on Wednesdays). The book will be available until September 7.