A DISTINGUISHED Isle of Wight Royal Air Force veteran has died aged 47 following a long battle with Covid.

Edward Cox's entire family has expressed their heartfelt thanks to the dedicated staff of the intensive care unit at Lincoln Hospital for their care and compassion during his 72 days with them.

Mr Cox, known as Ed, was born on the Island on March 1, 1974, to Peter and Anne Cox.

He went to Binstead Primary School, then Swanmore Middle School and Medina High School.

A talented musician, he played the trumpet in several Island brass bands together with his grandad, Walter Cox.

Swing and jazz remained his favourite forms of music throughout his life.

At 21, he joined the RAF as an airman, and after several postings, he was based at RAF Waddington in Lincoln — a town and county he came to love.

During his time in the RAF he gained a first-class honours degree in electronic engineering from Hallam University, achieved the rank of avionics chief technician, and was nominated in the Queen's New Year honours list on three separate occasions — a rare distinction in peacetime.

On his retirement from the RAF in March 2020, he joined SRC UK as chief technical officer. He was known as a fantastic mentor to the next generation and was always willing to help anyone around him.

When he started this next step in his career, he was, in his words, living the dream. Sadly, his dream was cut short after he contracted Covid.

Mr Cox leaves behind three children — Jessica, Ben and Lauren, and grandson Hendrix.