I was also a passenger in a Phantom Jet at RAF Leuchars in Fife in 2006, and it was an awesome experience. We were practising for the RAF Leuchars air show which is one of the highlights of my year. My pilot was Squadron Leader Pete Brombley who explained we were going up in a diamond formation, and would be at the �whip� jet at the back making sure everyone stayed in perfect position. I was given a medical, put through a safety training course and instructed how to eject if there was a serious problem. I had to wear a �G� suit which prevents the blood draining from your head and causing you to pass out when you fly supersonic. Experiencing G force it is a bit like bring cuddled by a gorilla, but flying at 700 miles an hour and pulling four and a half times the force of gravity I found it rather exhilarating. It was the most extraordinary experience and I realise how lucky I am to have been given the chance to fly, and I was also delighted that I didn�t disgrace myself by throwing up. I watched the Tornado diamond formation from the ground during the Air Show the next day and it was flawless.
The next year the runway at Leuchars was being re-laid and instead of the airshow, they held a Battle of Britain ball which I was asked to host. It was an amazing evening which kicked off with a fly past from a Second World War Dakota in honour of �the few�. I wore a vintage WAAF uniform and all my friends entered into the spirit of this nostalgic event in aid of the RAF Benevolent Fund and CLIC Cancer charity for teenagers. *Last year I was really proud to be asked to be an Honorary Colonel in the Black Watch cadets. The Cadets are a brilliant organisation and really help young people from all walks of life. The skills they learn in Cadets really help them in whatever they decide to do with their lives. They are taught how to work in a team and also given real confidence in themselves, and the chance to gain qualifications through the CVQO scheme.
My first task as Hon Colonel was rather daunting. I had to go to Stirling Castle and take the Queen�s 21 gun Birthday salute. I was fitted for a splendid uniform, and given details instructions. The wonderful thing about the army is that they are always on time, beautifully organised and utterly reliable. I was a bundle of nerves on my platform taking the salute and ordering the guns to be fired, but it was amazing. I also was delighted to be asked to take part in Armed Forces Day in Dundee which was very moving especially when the veterans were on parade. Hearing their stories, always told in such a self deprecating and matter of fact way is both humbling and fascinating.