July 31 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
The parents of a former Thorpe St Andrew schoolboy who has been chosen to be part of the Red Arrows team ahead of its 50th display season have today spoken of their pride.
Ross Harrison, from Thorpe End, near Norwich, first saw the Red Arrows when he was a toddler. On that occasion, he hid his head in the sand because of the noise.
But he joined the Red Arrows in 2012 and is now at RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus training with the rest of the team ahead of its return to the UK later this month.
The Royal Air Force engineer was selected from the squadron to accompany the jets on the transits throughout the practice and display season, and will fly in the back seats of the Red Arrows’ Hawk jets.
Speaking from Cyprus, he said: “I admit I’ve got a pretty cool job. It’s something to be proud of.
“When I joined the air force I always hoped that one day I would be with the Red Arrows, but it’s quite strange now that I am. I’ve been so lucky.”
Paul Harrison, 61, from Easton, who is a director at Business World Travel in Great Yarmouth, said: “My wife Karen, 54, and I and our other son Lee, 30, are very proud of Ross. My father was in the RAF during the second world war, and from day one Ross was also interested. We used to go to air shows.
“We went to Jersey when Ross was just 14 months old, and they always had an air show. His first experience of the Red Arrows was on St Helier beach, where he hid his head in the sand, because of the noise.
“Obviously he cannot remember that but we always remind him of it.
“We continued to take him to air shows and he joined the ATC aged 14 in Norwich - four years later he joined the RAF.
“What he’s done is the pinnacle for anyone interested in making it to the top, from the engineering side. It’s fabulous. It’s just a shame my parents are not alive to see it.”
The 32-year-old was posted to RAF Marham after completing basic and trade training. He was also based at RAF Coltishall, before it closed, and he has completed many operational tours of Afghanistan and Iraq.
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