Centre named after RAF hero

AN RAF Sgt officially opened a new centre named in his honour at the school he was excluded from.

Sgt David Hayden, based at RAF Leeming and winner of the Military Cross, was guest of honour at the official opening of the new Hayden Centre within Sir John Gleed School in Spalding, Lincolnshire.

The centre supports students who find mainstream education difficult or need time to develop social and emotional skills. A self-confessed ‘bad lad’ in his youth Sgt Hayden– who was permanently excluded from Sir John Gleed School for his behaviour – admits the centre would have been just what he needed.

David was eventually sent to an educational facility in Oxfordshire which catered for his particular educational needs. Through this he went on to join the Royal Air Force Regiment. He became the first RAF Regiment Gunner to be presented the coveted Military Cross following his outstanding bravery and disregard for his own safety during a sustained fire fight whilst deployed to Basrah in 2007.

Janet Daniels, head teacher at Sir John Gleed said: “We wanted a facility where students had the opportunity to learn in a structured environment, but also to learn social skills.

Before officially opening the new centre, Sgt Hayden spent time with some of its current students. “This has the potential to change lives,” he said.