Responsive image

Dylan Gardener

Flying a plane for the first time gave former Curro Hillcrest learner, Dylan Gardener, a sense of joy and a good feeling which he said he cannot really explain.

“It was love at first sight,” he said.

Dylan’s great-grandfather, F/Lt John Phillips flew for the Royal Air Force in the Second World War.

When Dylan returned from flying a plane for the first time, his dad, Dave, showed him medals awarded to his great-grandfather during WW2, including a distinguished flying cross.

This inspired Dylan to complete his medical certification and 12 flying hours toward his private pilot’s license.

He will leave South Africa on an ancestral visa to pursue his dream of becoming a pilot in the Royal Air Force on Tuesday, 28 May.

In June last year, he ‘co-piloted’ a three-day trip from Durban to Johannesburg, Johannesburg across to Upington, returning from Upington to Springbok, to Johannesburg, and back to Durban.

Dylan attended Curro Hillcrest Christian Academy from Grade RR and finished his final year in 2018.

The highlights of his academic achievements were winning the EGD subject award, two distinctions, and an award for leadership for his contribution as deputy head boy.

His sporting achievements at Curro included Rugby ‘Players Player of the Year’, being the ‘Best Forward’ at the Trevaton Rugby Festival, and being selected for the KZN Curro 7’s Team. ”I will still play rugby for quite some time my dream was to become a professional player, I did not see myself doing anything else,” said Dylan.

Dylan was also selected to represent the Sharks U18 Youth Club Rugby to play in the Inter-Provincial Tournament (IPT) in Durban in October.

They won the U18 Interprovincial Tour Trophy. “This win is a massive accolade influencing my rugby career in London,” he said.

At the Collegians Rugby Prize Giving, Dylan received the Chairman’s Award for his contribution to Collegians Rugby, and his gentlemanly conduct both on and off the field this year.

His dad said his son is level-headed and has a good level of steadiness and he knows that he will definitely make a mark in the Royal Air Force.

“Go in peace and God’s grace Dylan. We are going to miss you and will be comforted in the knowledge that you are following your dream,” he said.

Dylan added that leaving his friends and family will be hard.

“I have lots of mixed emotions especially because I am a homeboy, I am very close to my friends and family but knowing that I’m on a journey to pursue and achieve my dream makes me feel at ease,” he said.