A FORMER leader of the Red Arrows has launched a business inspired by the near-miss when he almost forgot his wedding anniversary.

Jas Hawker, of Poole, was commanding officer of the RAF’s aerobatic team from 2006-09.

But despite the planning and split-second timing needed in that role, he said he found himself rushing around the shops for a gift on his second wedding anniversary.

He said: “I tend to be quite reflective so once I had found a gift for my wife I wanted to work out how I could have avoided this situation.

“Despite me setting two calendar reminders – the first at minus two weeks and the second five days before the event – I still blew it. The reason I ended up spending three hours rushing around the shops looking for something cotton (it was my second anniversary) was simple. I realised that despite my best intentions, I had become extremely time-poor and it was not easy to find high quality gifts for specific occasions online.”

He devised My Gift Genie, a website which offers a free reminder service but also recommends luxury gifts which can be bought straight from the site.

He said despite the easy availability of online calendars and wish lists system, he had not found anything like My Gift Genie.

“I wanted a one-stop shop that does everything for me,” he said.

“If I could find another one out there, we wouldn’t be doing it.

“It only takes 20 seconds to create an event reminder. You can create as many as you want.”

The site reminds the user when a birthday or anniversary is coming and recommends possible gifts.

Jas worked on the project with his wife Yolanda. “It not only solved my personal problem but it gave me a chance to work with my wife, which has been great,” he said.

“Between us we spent quite a lot of time sourcing all the gifts. They’re luxury but luxury doesn’t mean expensive. Luxury means it’s thoughtful, it’s deliberate.

“Most of our gifts are £20 and upwards. The average gift is probably around £50. There are some expensive gifts about £1,000.”

The 44-year-old said he still enjoys seeing the Red Arrows at events such as Bournemouth Air Festival.

“I enjoy watching the Red Arrows but I really enjoy watching the crowd. That’s the bit I never got to see before,” he said.

“When you see 20,000-plus people, knowing there’s probably a couple of hundred thousand people out there and they’re all oohing and aah-ing and cheering and clapping, that’s the bit you don’t get when you’re working your hardest trying to get it all right.”