A hero of the Battle of Britain and a university air cadet will fly together in the run-up to this year's News Shopper-sponsored Biggin Hill International Air Fair.

WITH an age gap of 67 years between them, an RAF veteran and a trainee pilot will fly with the world-renowned Breitling aerobatics team next month.

Wing Commander Peter Ayerst is 87 years old and served in the RAF for 35 years, while 20-year-old Fenella Allery is a trainee pilot with the University of London Air Squadron (ULAS).

Both will fly in a team of seven Breitlings at Biggin Hill airport on June 6.

The pair were invited to take part with the idea of letting the past meet the future to commemorate the RAF's 90th anniversary.

Wing Commander Ayerst, who lives in Limes Road, Beckenham, said: "I was quite surprised to receive the invitation to fly with the Breitlings, but I am happy to accept."

The Battle of Britain veteran flew with the RAF throughout the Second World War.

He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his courage and bravery in the air.

Wing Commander Ayerst initially flew Hurricanes in France in 1939 at the age of 19, with 73 Squadron RAF.

He was the first RAF pilot to come face to face with a Messerschmitt Bf 109 - the German equivalent of the Spitfire.

He encountered 27 Messerschmitts after accidentally flying too far into Germany, but managed to get away.

Wing Commander Ayerst said: "I saw nine aircraft coming below me, which I thought were our chaps, until I saw the great black cross which symbolised German planes.

"Then from another direction another 18 came, so it was 27 against one."

After being posted to North Africa in 1942, he went on to fly high altitude Spitfires intercepting enemy aircraft over France.

He also commanded a Venom squadron in Germany in the 1950s.

Wing Commander Ayerst, who has written a book about his flying career called Spirit of the Blue, says he had a lot of close shaves and was lucky to survive the war.

He said: "I thank my lucky stars I survived it all.

"When I hear of people dying today in Iraq and Afghanistan, I remember how lucky I was."

Officer Cadet Fenella Allery is doing a master's degree in aviation engineering at Brunel University and is learning to fly as an air cadet with ULAS.

It is her ambition to join the RAF after she has completed her studies.

She has 46 hours' flying experience so far and plans to qualify for her private pilot's licence this year.

Ms Allery said: "Flying with the Breitling Team in their awesome jets will be an unbelievable experience.

"Meeting a Battle of Britain pilot, a legend of the air, will be a humbling encounter. I am really looking forward to meeting Mr Ayerst."

For tickets to the Biggin Hill International Air Fair, which takes place on June 7 and June 8, call 01959 578270/578271/578272.

You can also visit the website bigginhillairfair.co.uk