Students participate in initiative with RAF Marham

Jon Egging Trust CEO Dr Emma Egging with Downham Market Academy students Zack Skeels (13) and Beth D

Jon Egging Trust CEO Dr Emma Egging with Downham Market Academy students Zack Skeels (13) and Beth Drewery (14). Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

The faces of these Downham Market Academy students were beaming with pride as they confidently shared their experiences of an opportunity very few others have the chance to participate in.

Downham Market Academy students were awarded their Jon Egging Trust graduation certificates by CEO D

Downham Market Academy students were awarded their Jon Egging Trust graduation certificates by CEO Dr Emma Egging. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

The youngsters were selected to participate in a special programme with personnel from RAF Marham designed to help them overcome adversity, raise their aspirations and identify their key strengths.

It is the only school in Norfolk participating in the initiative co-ordinated by the Jon Egging Trust, a charity which strives to inspire young people through its youth engagement work.

Flt Lt Jon Egging died in August 2011 while participating in an air display at Bournemouth Air Festival with 'The Red Arrows' and was passionate about inspiring young people through his flying and enthusiasm for teamwork.

His widow, Emma, the charity's CEO, presented the students with their final graduation certificates at the school this week.


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She said: 'This was an idea Jon had while he was with the Red Arrows and he did as much as he could to inspire young people.

'The key message he wanted to get across is that you don't have to be a pilot, but really go out there and find out what you're good at. Don't give up, and follow your dreams.'

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Around 20 youngsters aged between 13 and 14 paid regular visits to RAF Marham where they toured the base, met with personnel and participated in various activities.

Flt Lt Ian Snelling said: 'You really notice a change in them after they've spent some time with us. In the beginning, they're very much in their separate groups of two, maybe three.

'By the end of the course, particularly after the team building exercises, they're working well together as a group and getting on well. And it's great to be here to celebrate their achievements - they've done incredibly well.'

The success of the initiative also reflects well on the students grades.

Fourteen-year-old Bethany Drewery said: 'When I came up to the high school, I really didn't care about my school work. Then I was selected for this opportunity and it has mainly helped improve my confidence.

'My grades are better and I've been selected for the student leadership team. I want to work hard now to get into a good university and then go into the Army. After that, I want to become a lawyer.'

- Is your school involved in a project to inspire students? Email louise.hepburn@archant.co.uk

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