ALUN PEPPER / 46 / PILOT
Alun was born and raised in the North West working class town of Crewe. He was always keen on joining the military but it wasn’t until watching the film ’Top Gun’ that he realised his ambition. That is not to say it was an easy road. It was at his 3rd attempt that he was accepted as navigator and moved to RAF Cranwell to start his Officer training.
That started a 20 year ASSOCIATION with Lincolnshire which he now calls home. Initially on helicopters and then flying Tornado fast jets Peps has served on operations all over the world. In 2012 he realised his final flying ambition when he was selected to be part of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight flying the World War 2 Lancaster bomber, based at RAF Conningsby.
He was humbled by the opportunity to represent the veterans and be a symbol for the message ‘lest we forget’ In 2006 Al was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Approaching it with what his commanding officer described as bravery not witnessed outside of a war, Alun was quickly back flying.
He puts the speedy recovery down to good awareness and lack of embarrassment which is why he is now a leading figure in spreading awareness and visits schools, clubs and even premiership winning football teams to educate. Alun is also an active supporter of the Jon Egging trust. When not writing essays for his MSc in Psychology, Alun is a keen martial artist and was even declared Lincolnshires sexiest person.
Don't Count the Days, Make the Days Count
Several reasons. The quote is by Muhammed Ali, my sporting icon and all round hero. My own cancer experience and also that of my mum who received a terminal diagnosis. This is what we tried to do with the time she had.
Ongoing testicular cancer awareness. School talks, including Eton, Sports clubs, including Leicester City and #NewBallsPlease where I collect signed balls from celebrities to replace the one I lost for social media awareness.
I'm really lucky as nothing is, I now live for the moment, so do rather than dream about things.
I have a whole "Manliest Man" album/playlist, all very very tongue and cheek: So Macho - Sinitta, Whatta Man - Salt & Pepa, I'm Too Sexy - Right Said Fred, Sexy And I Know it - LMFAO and to sum it all up You're So Vain - Carly Simon. Favourite artists currently: Eminem and Linkin Park (both good for the gym.)
Erm, a hard one! My first flight in a jet or the World War 2 Lancaster Bomber or reaching the Summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.
FAVOURITE CITY AND WHY?
Barcelona is a beautiful city and I watched Man United win the Champions League there in 1999, so it will always have a special place in my heart.
THREE PIECES OF ADVICE YOU WOULD GIVE YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
1. I kind of do anyway, which is "never give up, you only fail at something when you stop trying. 2. Have faith in yourself, I didn't discover my confidence until my late 20's. 3. Check your balls, especially in 2006!
Watching: Football, American Football and Boxing. Doing: Martial Arts (Aikido and Japanese Swordsmanship.)
Muhammed Ali. Sporting Prowess, Stood up for his beliefs and constantly proved critics wrong.
MOST INSPIRING PERSON YOU HAVE EVER MET AND WHY?
I have met a lot of great people. People doing outstanding work in cancer awareness, some through tragic stories of their own and also i've been privileged to have met many Veterans during my time on the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, so to pick just one would do them all a disservice. I am constantly humbled.
BRAVEST/SCARIEST THING YOU HAVE EVER DONE?
My commanding officer said how I handled my illness was the bravest thing he had seen outside of a war zone, but that was ridiculous. Bravery is being scared and doing something anyway, I had no real choice in the matter, so I would have to say getting a spider out the bath last week, that thing was massive!
Born and raised in Crewe, now live in Lincoln.