RAF sergeant from Needham Market chosen to run in special baton relay to mark air force’s 100th anniversary
- Credit: Sgt Peter George MA ABIPP
An RAF flight sergeant from Needham Market was on cloud nine after playing a key role in the air force’s 100th anniversary celebrations on Easter Sunday.
Jay Ferguson, 26, had the honour of being among the first six runners in the RAF100 Baton Relay on the 100th birthday of the service.
During the next 100 days the RAF100 Baton Relay will visit every region of the UK and several overseas locations, including the Falkland Islands, Washington DC and Afghanistan.
It will be in East Anglia from June 20-29, and will visit the Royal Norfolk Show on June 27.
The father of three, who is based at the UK’s national air traffic control centre in Swanwick, Hampshire, said: “Escorting the baton on its first leg was a great honour. I have never represented the RAF in its sporting colours so this was my chance at last.”
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The former pupil of Stowmarket High School works in a specialist team at Swanwick responsible for coordinating civil and military responses to air emergencies and search and rescue missions.
He has served around the world, including in Afghanistan and the first Gulf War.
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Mr Ferguson added that was proud his children could appreciate his achievement.
He said: “My eldest child is old enough to know that what I did was symbolically quite an honour.”
The Baton Relay was launched at a poignant ceremony, during which a survivor of the Stalag Luft III prisoner of war camp received the RAF100 Baton from the head of the Royal Air Force, before handing it on to the RAF’s youngest serving airman.
The RAF100 Baton Relay will take the campaign to communities in every region of the UK, carried by 20 RAF sports associations, serving RAF personnel, reservists, RAF Air Cadets and veterans.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier said: “In our 100th year we want to showcase the vital role the RAF continues to play in defending the British people and protecting our nation’s interests.
“Launched on April 1, the celebrations are a fitting recognition and thank you to the exceptional dedication, spirit and achievements of our men and women. They also encourage us to look to the future: the greatest legacy of RAF100 will be its ability to inspire a whole new generation so that together we can help shape our next century.”