Saving lives in memory of Red Arrows pilot Jon

Villager Gina Hacker pictured in the phone box with the defibrillator.
Villager Gina Hacker pictured in the phone box with the defibrillator.
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A LIFE-SAVING piece of equipment in a village has been dedicated in memory of a Red Arrows pilot.

The new defibrillator, which has been installed in the disused phone box in High Street, Morcott, was the brainchild of villager Gina Hacker.

She decided to dedicate it in memory of Flt Lt Jon Egging, 33, who lived in the village and died when the Hawk T1 Red Arrow he was flying crashed shortly after a display at Bournemouth Air Festival on August 20.

A plaque on the defibrillator’s case reads “In loving memory of Jon Egging Red 4 (1977 - 2011). Never forgotten” and was unveiled on Thursday last week during a training session.

Gina, who lives in High Street, sought permission from Flt Lt Egging’s widow Emma before installing the plaque.

She said: “Although I didn’t know Jon personally, I had e-mailed everyone in the village asking what they thought of getting a defibrillator. Jon had sent two e-mails in support of this and he had even offered to help train people to use it.

“When I realised Jon was so much in support of the idea and he was so well-liked, it seemed like a nice thing to do.”

Gina decided to install a defibrillator in the disused phone box after seeing a village in Leicestershire had done something similar.

She was helped by Martin Fagan, from the Community Heartbeat Trust, which is a charity helping install defibrillators in villages.

The Karen Ball Trust, a Rutland-based charity, funded half the cost of the defibrillator and seven years maintenance, and Morcott Parish Council agreed to fund the other half. The total cost was £1,965.

There were 36 people in the village who attended the training session to learn how to use the defibrillator, which shocks the heart back to a normal rhythm following a cardiac arrest.

Gina was pleased with the response.

She said: “Even without Continued: Page 3

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training it can be used by anyone.

“The nearest defibrillator we had before this was installed was in Uppingham, which wouldn’t give us the window to get there and back in time.

“It just seemed a no brainer to me and I think other villages should get one.”

A cycle ride in memory of Flt Lt Egging is due to finish today. Dr Emma Egging has taken part in the Jon Egging Coast to Coast Challenge, which started on Tuesday with the aim of cycling 400 miles across the width of the UK.

Dr Egging joined her husband’s colleagues from the Red Arrows, including his friend Flt Lt Ben Plank, who lives on the Welland Park development, off Little Casterton Road in Stamford, as well as pilots from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flypast.

Anything raised over £50,000 will go towards The Jon Egging Trust, a charity Dr Egging set up in memory of her husband to help disadvantaged youngsters fulfil their potential through activities like flying.