Red Arrows flight puts celebrity pair in tune with services life

Pictures: Chris Radburn/PAWire
Pictures: Chris Radburn/PAWire
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Queen guitarist Brian May and West End star Kerry Ellis hit a high note as they took to the skies with the Red Arrows.

The pair donned the jumpsuits that are standard for the aerobatics display team before climbing into the cockpits of the Royal Air Force planes.

May and Ellis took part in training at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire with the iconic RAF team, many of whom have been away on operations in Afghanistan, to get a sense of life in the service before their July appearance at the Anthems in the Park event at RAF Cranwell, near Sleaford in Lincolnshire.

May flew with Red 7 Flt Lt Ben Plank while Ellis flew with Red 1 Squadron Leader Ben Murphy, who is also the leader of the Red Arrows.

May and Ellis, who have closely collaborated on the Anthems tour, also had the chance to meet Jacqui Thompson, whose husband Gary, a reservist with the RAF Regiment, died in Afghanistan in 2008 when his vehicle was hit by a landmine.

Mrs Thompson, from Sherwood, Nottingham, said: “When he was killed, the RAF Benevolent Fund sent me a really nice letter saying how they could help and a cheque to make sure we weren’t in difficulty during the turmoil.

“I knew then that we wouldn’t face losing our home and I would be able to support our daughter, Jordan, through university.”

The Anthems in the Park concert on July 16 is in aid of the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund (RAFBF), for which Mrs Thompson also raised money in 2009 by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.