A young air cadet who beat the odds early in life will enjoy a dream week with The Red Arrows next year.
Corporal Ryan Ferrie (17), of Grangemouth 1333 Squadron, is one of just two cadets in the West of Scotland heading to RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus in April to watch the RAF’s best of the best in training.
Thanks to funding from the RAF Association Scotland, the St Mungo’s High School pupil will be able to see those famous bright red British Aerospace Hawks up close and talk to the team that flies them.
A talented goalkeeper who has played for the Scottish Youth Football Association national team for two years, Ryan is also a talented athlete, keen student and budding pilot, having taken the controls of a glider during his cadet training.
These achievements are all the more remarkable when you take into account Ryan had to overcome a serious injury to his arm which left the limb immobile for much of his early childhood.
Dad John said: “Going away to another country is exciting enough, but with the Red Arrows on top of that, it’s safe to say Ryan is looking forward to it.
“His mum and I are so proud of him, especially the way he overcame things as a youngster. Joining the cadets was one of the best things he ever did and we’re so grateful to the squadron. It really brought him out of his shell. He is now keen to join the RAF as a fitness instructor.”
Flight Lieutenant Tom McMorrow, 1333 Squadron commanding officer, said: “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. To win this chance, cadets had to satisfy a number of criteria, principally having overcome adversity to achieve beyond expectation.
“We submitted a nomination for Ryan because he was such a good candidate for the RAFA-sponsored trip. We are pleased for him and very proud of him.
“The opportunity for Ryan going on the trip is substantial - at the age of 17 he will see and do things few people ever have the chance to in their entire life.”
After four years with 1333 Squadron Ryan has been promoted to the rank of corporal and, now qualified to teach football and PE, leads many of the squadron’s sports practice nights. His excellent fundraising efforts for the RAFA were also praised.
In his nomination statement to RAFA, Flt Lt McMorrow said: “It is the great privilege of this job you come across so many worthwhile young people and I compliment Ryan for his perpetual fortitude and determination in the face of whatever life throws at him.
“He has had to overcome a lot but you will never hear him complain or seek any kind of special dispensation - he just gets on with things and achieves, and does so with great personal modesty.
“A terrific example of a young man of many qualities.”