Stories

Pint Sized Pilot In The Making

After meeting his heroes the Red Arrows, five-year-old Jacob is now giving something back to the Royal Air Force by raising funds for the...

It’s not every day you get to meet your heroes, but for five-year-old Jacob Newson from Leeds he was overjoyed when he got to meet the Red Arrows at this year’s Royal International Air Tattoo.

Coming from a military family, his Dad Andy served 10 years as a reservist with the Royal Corps of Signals which saw him carry out tours in Kosovo, Bosnia and Iraq. His Dad said, 

“Jacob is just a typical five year old boy really."

“He’s mad on aeroplanes, in fact his first air show was four months before he was born and his mum said that she could feel him kicking when the Vulcan Bomber was displaying at RAF Waddington in 2013."

“He’s had a flying suit since he was a baby that he wears all the time.

“His aircraft recognition skills are excellent, he can happily tell you the difference between a Hurricane and a Spitfire and what the key differences are and how you can tell them apart.”

Ahead of attending the 2019 Royal International Air Tattoo, Jacob made sure to make a good impression. His Dad told Forces Radio BFBS, 

“It all started with a tweet that we posted two days before we went to RIAT, asking pilots and officers to return a salute to Jacob.”

“He’d be practising all week, marching around and saluting.

“The tweet went viral, I think it reached about 100,000 people.”

Hoping to get a photo with a Typhoon pilot from RAF Lossiemouth, Jacob got more than he bargained for when he was given the opportunity to meet the Red Arrows.

“We went across the dispersal area to where the Red Arrows were having their pre-display briefing and then they all came over, lined up and saluted him.

“It was just amazing, we were quite emotional about it.

“We came away after an absolutely fantastic day and off the back of that we thought that we needed to do something in return to say thanks.”

Looking at a number of different challenges that were achievable for Jacob to complete, the Newson family decided on setting their sights on climbing Pen-y-ghent – one of the highest peaks in Yorkshire, to raise money for the RAF Benevolent Fund. 

The father son team are after event the smallest of donations to help the amount they want to raise. Dad, Andy said, 

“If we can reach loads and loads of people and just 10 per cent of them donate, that would make such a difference to the amount he raises.”

Jacob and his Dad Andy will be climbing Pen-y-ghent at the end of August. You can support their fundraising efforts for the RAF Benevolent Fund via Just Giving.