A GRIEVING widow whose husband was killed in a Red Arrows plane crash said he was “everything to those who knew him”.
Flt Lt Jon Egging, 33, from Morcott, died when the Hawk T1 Red 4 aircraft he was flying crashed near Bournemouth Airport at 1.50pm on Saturday.
Earlier, that day his wife Dr Emma Egging had watched him perform for the first time with the display team at Bournemouth Air Festival.
Dr Egging, 32, who works at the British Museum in London, said: “Jon was everything to those who knew him and he was the best friend and husband I could ever have wished for.
“There was nothing bad about Jon. He loved his job and was an exemplary pilot.
“Watching him, I was the proudest I’ve ever been.
“I loved everything about him and he will be missed.”
The couple had lived in the village of Morcott for four years and in June last year, they married at St Mary’s Church in Morcott.
Since moving in, Flt Lt Egging had become firm friends with neighbour Roger Whittle.
Mr Whittle said: “Jon would do absolutely anything for anyone.
“His neighbour had been poorly and he had been mowing the lawn for them and he also helped out in the village.
“He had a heart of gold and I just can’t believe he’s gone. I saw him two days before he died. He was coming out of his driveway in his Red Arrows uniform and we had a laugh and a joke.”
Before joining the Red Arrows in autumn last year, Flt Lt Egging had served at RAF Cottesmore where he flew the Harrier GR9.
Mr Whittle said his friend had even given him the rare opportunity to sit in the iconic aircraft.
Mr Whittle said: “He knew I was interested in flying and he asked me if I wanted to see the Harrier he flew at RAF Cottesmore.
“I’ll never forget that day.
“Little things like that typified the kind of man he was. He absolutely loved flying and when he got selected for the Red Arrows, he was so happy. He couldn’t stop smiling.”
Mr Whittle passed on his condolences to Emma, saying: “You couldn’t wish to meet a happier couple and more than anything, my thoughts are with Emma.”
Candles were lit in the village church on Sunday and messages of condolence have been left in the visitors’ book.
Churchwarden Jane Williams said: “Of course he had a busy schedule, but whenever he could, Jon played a part in village life.
“The last two years Jon read the lesson in church on Remembrance Sunday, in full uniform, because he knew how much it meant - especially to the children, who adored him.
“I can’t stop thinking about their wedding: it was a shining day, full of love and hope for the future. And it’s gone in an instant – all that potential - and it’s an absolute tragedy.”
It is thought Flt Lt Egging guided the plane away from houses, before crashing into a river bank.
The Ministry of Defence has launched an investigation into how the crash happened.
After the crash, the display team was grounded and although the aircraft was cleared to fly yesterday, the Ministry of Defence said it was unlikely they would perform again this year. All displays planned for August have been cancelled.
Books of condolence were opened at Bournemouth Town Hall after the crash and a minute’s silence was held at the air festival in his honour.
A book of condolence has also been opened at the gates of RAF Scampton.
An inquest into Flt Lt Egging’s death has been opened and adjourned in Bournemouth. A post-mortem examination found he died of multiple injuries.