A SPECTACULAR and fitting tribute. Those were the words of Dr Emma Egging after she unveiled the cliff top memorial to her husband, Red Arrows pilot Flt Lt Jon Egging .

The lasting tribute to the ace flyer who died when his Hawk aircraft came down on August 19 last year was officially inaugurated on the eve of this year’s air festival.

Fittingly, the Red Arrows will open the 2012 festival today.

The memorial has been months in the planning and design and the process has involved Flt Lt Egging’s widow, Emma, Red Arrows colleague, Red 6 Flt Lt Ben Plank, the council and schoolchildren.

They were all present at the site yesterday as the memorial was unveiled.

There was a reception at the nearby Miramar Hotel beforehand with 130 guests.

Many of Jon and Emma’s friends were there, as were all the members of the current Red Arrows team.

Dr Egging told the Daily Echo the memorial was a spectacular tribute to her husband.

She added: “It’s a day of mixed emotions of course but we are so grateful for the support and kindness from the people of Bournemouth.

“The outpouring of support for myself, Jon’s family and friends and for the Red Arrows team has helped carry us through.

“The last year has been immensely difficult but some good has come from our loss with the founding of the Jon Egging Trust.”

Jon’s mother, Dawn, told the Echo: “Everyone has been so kind and we feel really privileged to have been working with local children and local people on the memorial. And it is so beautiful.”

Jon’s close friend and Reds Arrows pilot, Flt Lt Ben Plank, said the loss of Jon and also Sean Cunningham last year had been massive blows for the team. But in the best RAF tradition we have got ourselves back on our feet and the show back on the road. We’re very proud of the display we’ve got for this year and really pleased to be back in Bournemouth.”

He described Jon Egging as “my closest friend in the Royal Air Force, a great guy, a fantastic pilot and leader.”