Celebration send-off on the beach for pilot Jimmy Rae

York Press: Friends and family of tragic pilot Jimmy Rae watch as his ashes are scatered into the sea on the Gold Coast. Friends and family of tragic pilot Jimmy Rae watch as his ashes are scatered into the sea on the Gold Coast.

ALICE RAE, the widow of a North Yorkshire pilot who died in a plane crash over the coast of Australia, has spoken to The Press about her “wonderful man”, who was “an inspiration”.

Jimmy Rae, from Easingwold, died on Monday, December 16, when the left wings of the Tiger Moth biplane he was flying failed and the aircraft crashed about 3,000 feet into the sea, 300 metres off the coast of Brisbane. He and his passenger, 21-year-old Taissia Umenc, both died in the crash.

Alice, who Jimmy had known since they were both students at Easingwold School, had dated him since the age of 15, and the couple were married on September 27, 2012.

Jimmy was cremated at Allambe Memorial Park, Nerang, Queensland, on Christmas Eve, at a small service attended only by family and close friends, but a second ceremony was held to celebrate his life on Friday, December 27.

Alice said: “His ashes were scattered into the sea during a gathering held on the beach at The Spit, Gold Coast, on Friday.

“The occasion was attended by about 100 people comprising of Jimmy’s family, friends, boxing associates and work colleagues, both from the aviation industry and The Kidman Corporation, a beef producer where Jimmy used to work.

“Two Tiger Moth aircraft marked the occasion with a fly past at 1.30pm. A celebration of Jimmy’s life followed at his favourite bar, The Fishermans Wharf Tavern, at Main Beach, Gold Coast, on that same afternoon.”

The couple had moved to Australia in July this year, where Jimmy worked for a beef producer before moving to Tiger Moth Joy Rides as a pilot.

Alice worked as an equine dentist. She told The Press the ceremony on the beach was “the best send-off anyone could have”, and today revealed more details about another service for their friends and family in the UK.

Alice said: “A memorial service is being planned for Jimmy. It will be held at the beginning of February 2014 in his home town of Easingwold.

“I wish to express my sincere gratitude to the people who travelled so far to celebrate the life of this wonderful man, son, husband, pilot, boxer, explorer and friend. He was an inspiration to many and will be truly missed.”

A report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) said the final minutes of the flight were captured on a digital video camera which had been recovered from the wreckage and showed that about a minute into an aerobatic manoeuvre, the left wings failed.

A full investigation into the crash is ongoing, and expected to take up to a year.

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