Air Vice Marshal Harvey Smyth

I am absolutely delighted to be a Patron of the Jon Egging Trust. Having grown up in Northern Ireland during the height of The Troubles, I witnessed many of my friends, young kids and teenagers, fall into a wayward lifestyle, many of whom did not recover from it – if only an organisation such as the Jon Egging Trust existed then, to provide hope, guidance and confidence.

Whilst acting as Station Commander at RAF Marham in Norfolk I witnessed JET’s Blue Skies Programme in action and have seen its dramatically positive results first hand. To see a youngster metamorphose from shy, introverted teenager to confident, engaging young adult, is both exciting and amazing. JET consistently works small miracles with our young people across the length and breadth of the Nation, and is growing from strength to strength: I am incredibly honoured to be part of this story.

I knew Jon personally: we flew Harriers together on Number IV (Army Cooperation) Squadron, on combat operations in Afghanistan, from the aircraft carrier HMS ILLUSTRIOUS, or exercise in the USA, and during training from RAF Cottesmore in Rutland. He was a talented pilot and a great leader, but most of all, he was my friend. This Trust absolutely epitomises Jon, and I am enormously proud to formally be part of it.

I joined the RAF in 1991 and had the great privilege to spend the majority of my first 20 years flying fast jets on the front line, conducting multiple combat operations across the globe. In latter years I have played an instrumental role in bringing the RAF’s newest fighter, the F35 Lightning, into active Service. Whilst flying is in my very DNA, it is the people element of the RAF which motivates me the most: leading, inspiring and mentoring is every bit as rewarding and exhilarating as flying a fast jet hence,

I was simply over the moon when I was asked if I would become the third Patron to the Jon Egging Trust. Being offered the opportunity to help young people overcome adversity, find their inner strength, and be the absolute best they can be, is something I am incredibly energised about.