Jerry Ward
Jerry (aka "Fatty" - supposedly a term of endearment from his daughter!) was born on 16th June 1959, is married to Jane and has two children, Rachel, who graduated from  Warwick University last year, and now works for Deloitte in Manchester, and Sam who is in his 3rd year at Sheffield Hallam. Jerry has always been fascinated by speed, technology(except computers!) and anything powered with petrol, which in turn led to his love of aircraft, fast cars and even faster motor bikes. He started flying through a RAF scholarship, whilst a member of St Albans School combined Cadet Force, gaining a pilot's licence just after his 17th birthday.A gap year was spent working with British Steel Corporation in Sheffield/Rotherham, but as an apprentice the salary didn't cover any flying.  It was not surprising, that during his undergraduate years spent at Sheffield University, he joined the University Air Squadron, spending far too much time flying the Bulldog at RAF Finingley when he should have been studying!  On graduating, in 1981, he went straight on to the Royal Air Force College Cranwell to commence his officer training, with the ambition of becoming a fighter pilot
Following basic training on the Jet Provost at Cranwell and the Hawk at RAF Valley in Anglesey where he gained his wings, Jerry flew the Jaguar and Canberra before converting to the Tornado. His last operational role in the RAF was flying an F3 Tornado fighter on number 43 fighter Squadron (The Fighting Cocks ) during the first Iraq war, Desert Storm, based at Dhahran in Saudi Arabia, completing nearly 30 combat missions. From then to the end of his career with the RAF he became an instructor on the Tornado and flew the DC3 Dakota and Lancaster with the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.                                        
On leaving the RAF in 1997, Jerry joined the holiday tour company, Airtours, and converted to flying Boeing 757's and 767's taking happy holiday makers mainly to European, West Indian, North American and Middle Eastern holiday hotspots. Mind you, he was not averse to earning a little overtime by flying the Hajj now and then. In 1999 Jerry earned his own command with Airtours which became MyTravel and then merged with Thomas Cook.
Jerry had been asked to work a little overtime and take a flight to Las Vegas and then position with American Airlines to Cancun. It was during the rest period in Cancun in November 2007 that Jerry suffered a terrible accident whilst swimming in the sea, when a freak wave hit him from behind breaking his neck, this left him totally paralysed and face down in the sea. He was drowned and unconscious when he was pulled from the sea by some passers-by. They resuscitated him on the beach and kept him alive until the paramedics arrived. He was taken by ambulance to intensive care and a day later needed to be placed on a life-support ventilator. Five days later he was flown back to Manchester on an aero-medical evacuation flight and transferred to the Hope Hospital in Salford. After a lengthy operation to remove all the shattered parts of his vertebrae and install a titanium plate to support the remainder of his neck, Jerry remained in intensive care for the next three months. Fortunately, the nursing and physiotherapy staff were able to wean him off the ventilator and he no longer needs to be fed through a tube into his stomach. In the following months there was some minor recovery in movement of Jerry's upper arms, head and neck. Despite now being confined to a wheelchair, which he drives using his chin, for the rest of his life, as you will see from some of the other pages his flying career is not quite over! Being stuck in a wheelchair does provide significant challenges.  However, he still remains positive with his sense of humour intact, and following intensive rehabilitation in the Spinal Injuries Unit of Southport and Formby District General Hospital, and a total of 22 months since the accident, he is back at home with his family in Cheshire. With the support of his friends and family he is able to still lead a very rewarding life.