Former Red Arrows pilot inspires Corby students

Former Red Arrows pilot Graham Duff with Brooke Weston Academy principal Trish Stringer
Former Red Arrows pilot Graham Duff with Brooke Weston Academy principal Trish Stringer
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Former Red Arrows pilot Graham Duff was guest of honour at this year’s prize-giving ceremony at Brooke Weston Academy in Corby.

He showed a video of the Red Arrows in action and gave an inspirational talk to students on the attitude and behaviour needed to achieve their goals.

Hundreds of students from all year groups received prizes for their work in individual subject areas.

Student of the year awards went to Jakub Nowak, Julienne Padayachy and Joshua Vanni of Years 7, 8 and 9 respectively and Leanne Tough received the accolade for Year 10 alongside Eliot Beeby from Year 12.

Year 11 GCSE awards went to 24 students who had all achieved nine or more A* or A grades in their GCSEs and Year 13 A level and vocational awards went to a further 20 students, who had all received the equivalent of three A grade passes.

Another eight sixth-formers received the BA Crest gold awards for their work on the Engineering Education Scheme.

Since leaving the Royal Air Force Graham has climbed Everest and is now working towards his professional pilot’s licence.

He told students: “I spent my whole life going after goals. Everything I did was about wanting to become a pilot in the Air Force. What I studied and the grades I achieved, the exams I needed, what I did in my spare time - absolutely everything was dedicated to being a pilot so, really, the hard work started quite early.

“Know what it is that you want to do. Be honest with yourself about whatever you are trying to achieve. If you can’t answer that then you probably haven’t given enough thought in preparing yourself for the future. Have a clear idea of what you want to be or what you want to do. With a destination in mind it gives you the ability to join the dots and get to the end stage.

“Grasp every opportunity and say yes. Don’t give up. Keep doing things, keep trying. Love life, it is fantastic.”