A final tribute was paid to Flight Sergeant Anna Irwin who tragically lost her battle with cancer last month.
Station personnel from RAF Odiham gathered to pay their respects before the 37-year-old took her final flight home to Stafford on Monday, November 20.
A congregation of family and friends were joined by service personnel from throughout FS Irwin’s career, with many dressed in bright colours or in football strips as were her wishes.
A firing party gave a 12-gun salute followed by a flyover by two RAF Odiham Chinooks, who carried out a ‘missing man’ formation over the Hangar, before FS Irwin was flown to Staffordshire for a ceremony at MoD Stafford.
Event coordinator and fellow FS Liz Wood said her friend, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, was ‘truly amazing’.
She said: “Her smile was infectious and everyone who had the honour to meet her will say the same. Her legacy will stay with us all at Odiham forever.”
Having previously served with the territorial army in Iraq, FS Irwin decided that being a Chinook crewman was the job for her.
She followed her dream by joining the RAF and was posted to 18 (B) Sqn at RAF Odiham in 2007.
During her time with the squadron she deployed to Afghanistan on numerous occasions.
In 2013 she was awarded Airman of the Year at the Sun Millies awards for her courage under fire.
She was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer in April 2016 and used this as an opportunity to begin fundraising for cancer charities including the Royal Marsden, where she was receiving treatment and Teenage Cancer Trust.
Throughout the last 18 months of her life she completed several challenges ranging from climbing Ben Nevis, skydiving from a Chinook and even a half-iron man in Barcelona. To date, her fundraising has surpassed £70,000.
Sadly, FS Irwin lost her battle just two weeks before a fundraising party to end the year of events on October 27 at RAF Odiham.
Her wish that the 1940s-themed hangar party went ahead and that all proceeds go to St Michael’s Hospice Basingstoke, who looked after her during her final weeks.
RAF Odiham personnel and many others pulled together to organise the event in just six weeks, raising a total of £24,000.