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Brian May and Kerry Ellis to fly with the Red Arrows

15/06/2011

Queen guitarist Brian May and West End and Broadway star Kerry Ellis have both accepted an invitation to fly a training sortie with the Red Arrows later this week. On Thursday 16 June they will visit RAF Scampton to meet the pilots and ground crew of the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team many of whom have been away on operations in Afghanistan.

The aim of the day is to introduce Kerry and Brian to RAF personnel and give them a taste of life in the Service before their appearance at Anthems in the Park at RAF Cranwell in July. On the day Brian will be flying with Red 7 Flt Lt Ben Plank while Kerry will be with Red 1, Sqn Ldr Ben Murphy who is also the leader of the Red Arrows

The concert on 16 July is in aid of the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund (RAFBF) and on Thursday 16 June Brian and Kerry will have the opportunity to meet Mrs Jacqui Thompson, from Sherwood, Nottingham after her husband Gary, a reservist with the RAF Regiment, died in Afghanistan in 2008 when his vehicle was hit by a landmine.

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

In 2009, as a thank you for their help Jacqui raised money for the RAFBF by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. “It was way out of my comfort zone, but my driving force all the way through was Gary,” she said. “I wanted more people to know that, if the worst happens, the RAFBF are ready to help in any way they can.”

Following their successful ANTHEMS tour Kerry and Brian will perform outside the historic College Hall on Saturday 16 July. Also appearing on the night is the Band of the Royal Air Force College Cranwell under the baton of their Director of Music, Flight Lieutenant Matt Little, as well as the Salon Orchestra of the Central Band of the Royal Air Force.

“ANTHEMS in the PARK will be a fantastic occasion and I’m very grateful to both Brian May and Kerry Ellis in agreeing to perform for us and making what would otherwise be an enjoyable event into a truly outstanding and memorable one,” said Royal Air Force Cranwell’s Station Commander, Group Captain Dave Waddington. “Kerry and Brian will be supported by our very own, world-class Band of the Royal Air Force College and will perform in front of the grandeur of College Hall Officers’ Mess, the most famous building of the Royal Air Force.”

Given that Royal Air Force Cranwell is the oldest military air academy in the world there will be an air display – weather permitting - and the musical programme will finish with a stunning firework display. The event has been organised by a team of volunteers and all profits made will be donated to charity, the major beneficiary being the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund who provide support to serving and former members of the Royal Air Force, as well as their partners and dependants.

Tickets for ANTHEMS in the PARK are available at www.ticketline.co.uk or www.rafbf.org/cranwell or www.raf.mod.uk/cranwell. The ticket sales hotline is 0844 888 9991 and tickets are priced as follows:

Adult £25
Child ticket (5-17) £15
Under 5s free
Family ticket (2 Adults and 2 Children 5-17) £65

Gates will open at 4.30 p.m. and at 6.40 p.m. (weather permitting) there will be flypast by a Hurricane and Spitfire as well as a flying display by the world famous aerobatic team The Blades. The concert will start at 7.30 p.m. and will end with a firework display at approximately 10 p.m.. Concert goers are asked to provide their own seating and for those who do not wish to bring picnics there will be a number of food and drink concessions available on the night including champagne, Pimms and beer tents as well as a hog roast and ice cream vendors. VIP food hampers are also available at a variety of prices (see details attached) and must be ordered before the event.

Scaramouche Ensemble

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