THE widow and the best friend of the Red Arrows pilot who was killed in a crash have successfully cycled 400 miles to raise funds for the charity set up in his name.
Dr Emma Egging, of Morcott, took her husband Flt Lt Jon Egging’s place on the 400 mile challenge to cycle the width of the UK at its widest point.
She was joined by Flt Lt Egging’s colleagues in the Red Arrows display team, including Flt Lt Ben Plank, of Stamford, who was his best friend.
Flt Lt Egging, 33, died when the Hawk T1 aircraft he was flying crashed after he had performed as part of the Red Arrows display team at Bournemouth Air Festival on August 20.
Shortly after his death Dr Egging set up the Jon Egging Trust in his memory to raise funds to help disadvantaged young people fulfil their potential through activities like flying.
Anything raised over £50,000 will go to the charity and as the Mercury went to press, the total raised stood at nearly £75,000.
The RAF Association and Fly2Help, a charity which helps people get involved in aviation, will also benefit.
Flt Lt Plank, 32, is one of the trustees of the Jon Egging Trust and said the cycle ride was an “outstanding success”.
He said: “The ride was far more gruelling than I had anticipated but was a lot of fun and we raised a lot of money for three great charities.
“As a trustee of the newly founded Jon Egging Trust, I am immensely proud to be part of his legacy.”
Flt Lt Plank, who received sponsorship from Linden Homes after moving into its Welland Park development in Stamford, said the cyclists rode for nine hours a day.
He said: “We enjoyed a great amount of support on the route stopping at schools, fire stations, city centres and the odd pub for rest stops, and were fortunate enough to have a great support team who were on hand to help with bike maintenance and supply much needed energy drinks.”
The challenge by pilots from the Red Arrows and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight was renamed the Jon Egging Coast to Coast challenge after his death.
The four day ride finished on Friday last week.
On the Jon Egging Trust page on Facebook, Dr Egging said: “Four hundred miles done! It was a really tough four days but well worth the sore legs.
“The money will go a long way towards supporting the youth projects we are setting up next year, the first of which we aim to start in spring 2012.”
To add to the sponsorship total visit www.400in4.co.uk.
For more details on the Jon Egging Trust visit www.joneggingtrust.moonfruit.com