HUNDREDS of people gathered on Monday to celebrate the life of the Red Arrows pilot killed during Bournemouth Air Festival in August.

Flt Lt Jon Egging, who flew as Red Four, was killed when his Hawk jet crashed near Throop as the famous aerobatic team returned to Bournemouth Airport after wowing the crowds at the annual air event.

A contingent from Bournemouth, including the mayor and mayoress and members of Bournemouth Red Arrows Association, joined service men and women and friends and family of Flt Lt Egging, 33, at Lincoln Cathedral for the service.

The Red Arrows are based at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire and the family of Flt Lt Egging said the service was a chance to celebrate the pilot’s life following his private burial in September.

Around 1,000 invited guests heard about Flt Lt Egging’s early life, his time in the Reds, his military service and his interests away from flying.

Flt Lt Egging’s widow Dr Emma Egging led tributes, and TV presenter Carol Vorderman and Queen star Brian May, who had flown with Flt Lt Egging and the team before his death, were also present.

At the service his wife paid tribute to a loving husband dedicated to his family and his job.

She told those gathered at the service that Jon “lived and breathed his passion for flying”.

Dr Egging added: “A great deal of what made Jon, Jon, was his commitment to serving and supporting others.

“Whether in his capacity as a husband, son, brother, as a teammate, flying instructor, whether on operations in Afghanistan or as Red Four, Jon wanted to be there for others and to support and serve them and the RAF to the best of his ability.”

Echoing the sentiments of Squadron Leader Ben Murphy and Group Captain Harv Smith, who also spoke at the service, Dr Egging spoke of her husband’s confidence and hard work to both achieve his own dreams and to inspire others around him.

The Jon Egging Trust was set up by Emma Egging following his death.

Bournemouth Red Arrows Association is set to donate at least £2,800 from several fundraising events.

Bournemouth is to honour Flt Lt Egging’s memory by inviting schoolchildren to design a permanent memorial on the town’s East Cliff.

There will also be an annual gala ball to raise money for the Jon Egging Trust.