JON Egging has inspired us to keep going, to take strides each day, helping us to see the way to our future.

A stanza from the poem My Future Dreams, which was written by Jon Egging Trust (JET) students from across the country, including Twynham School in Christchurch, and West Moors Middle School.

Trust founder and chief executive Dr Emma Egging said these words in the poem, which was released to mark the ten-year anniversary of her husband’s death, perfectly encapsulated all JET stands for.

Red Arrows pilot Flt Lt Jon Egging died when his Hawk aircraft crashed shortly after a display at the 2011 Bournemouth Air Festival.

Emma set up JET in his name, with the organisation working to support vulnerable young people to realise their potential.

As the charity celebrates its 10th anniversary, Emma sat down for the Daily Echo’s The Echo Dispatch podcast to discuss the trust’s journey so far.

Listen to the podcast below or scroll down to read extracts from the interview.

Asked if she thought JET would ever get to where it is today, Emma said: “That’s a really interesting question because I remember literally in the first couple of months we had a fantastic supporter who was working with us and helping me figure out how what I wanted to do could be realised.

“He said to me: ‘Emma, if you help just one young person, that’s amazing.’

“I distinctly remember turning around and saying: ‘Peps, I am not just going to help one young person – that isn’t what I am doing. Right now I am setting up an organisation that can absolutely help as many young people in need of our support as possible.’

“I was really clear about that. I want to set up an organisation that does good work for young people who need it and I would love to support as many young people as possible.

“That was 10 years ago and he was probably a bit taken aback by how assertive I was but in all honesty I think when you pour so much time and hard work into something, you really do want it to fly and I’m just really pleased 10 years on to be able to say that we have helped 30,000 young people and we have got bit ambitions for the next 10 years as well.

Bournemouth Echo: Dr Emma Egging, left, during a cycling challengeDr Emma Egging, left, during a cycling challenge

“I guess I did always know that we had the potential to do what we are doing, it has just taken 10 years of hard work and amazing people in the team and supporting us to help realise that vision.”

Emma said the trust was fortunate to have an array of “dedicated, talented staff who pour their heart and soul into our work” to help young people.

While the charity has a team of just 20 frontline staff, it delivers programmes in areas all over the country with aspirations to expand even further in the years ahead.

Emma said Jon had expressed his frustration at not being able to progress the initial inspiration young people felt when they met the Red Arrows into long-term support.

“What I wanted to do and what I have been really pleasantly surprised at, I wanted to make sure that I realised that ambition of once you have got a young person engaged, to keep them engaged," she said.

Bournemouth Echo: Red Arrows pilots Wing Commander David Montenegro, left, and Squadron Leader Adam Collins with Dr Emma Egging and JET young ambassador Hayden Corney at the launch of this year's Bournemouth Air FestivalRed Arrows pilots Wing Commander David Montenegro, left, and Squadron Leader Adam Collins with Dr Emma Egging and JET young ambassador Hayden Corney at the launch of this year's Bournemouth Air Festival

“But also with the young people we work with they are starting to disengage at school, they are starting to think school is not for them, they’re not good at anything, what’s the point – they are starting to think that way.

“We work with those young people and we take them away from whatever is holding them back.

"It might be something that is happening in school, it might be problems at home but rather than stay in school and focus on those (problems), we take them out and we give them access to these amazing people and opportunities and through that they start to think differently about themselves.

“What I am most proud of is we don’t just do a one-off session.

"We very much work over three years for our Blue Skies programme, so we take that young person aged 13 from on the cusp of potentially dropping out but also grades potentially going down a bit, attendance maybe fluctuating, but that is the point we can make a real difference.

Bournemouth Echo: Flt Lt Jon EggingFlt Lt Jon Egging

“I am most proud of the fact that we have worked with so many students who are on the cusp of going down the wrong road and through Jon’s vision of inspiring them we have then changed their minds and then over the three years we have given them the opportunity to develop their talents, to have their confidence built, to see what they are good at and really excitingly to point them in the right directions for their futures.”

To mark 10 years of JET, Emma is completing a series of incredible physical feats to raise awareness of the trust and raise money for the organisation.

She is midway through her JET10 challenges and has been joined along the way by variety of friends, colleagues and teams of volunteers.

Next weekend on September 26, JETRide 2021 will take place, with cyclists choosing between 50, 80 and 100 miles, starting at RAF College Cranwell taking in the surrounding Lincolnshire countryside.

Entrants already signed up include former Red Arrows David Davies and Chris Lyndon Smith.

To find out more about Emma’s JET10 challenge click here and to find out about the work of JET and how you can support the trust click here.

New episodes of The Echo Dispatch podcast are released on the first Monday of the month.

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