Sir Richard Branson has chosen this image as Image of the Day. It was taken on 22 June 1984 before take off at London’s Heathrow bound for Newark. Sir Richard is on the steps up to the Maiden Voyager, the airline’s first aircraft, a Boeing 747, with an array of celebrities popular at the time.
From left to right: Sir Richard Branson, Christopher Biggins, pantomime dame and I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here winner 2007, Katie Rabett, British actress who appeared in tv’s Minder, Bond film The Living Daylights, the journalist and television presenter Sir David Frost who was recently portrayed by Michael Sheen in last year’s film Frost/Nixon, the late broadcaster, writer and politician Sir Clement Freud, British actress Suzanne Danielle who appeared in the Carry On series, Holly Johnson lead singer from the band Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Behind Holly is musician Julian Lloyd Webber who gave a live performance on his cello during the flight.
Virgin Atlantic will recreate that first flight this year on 22 June to celebrate the airline’s launch 25 years ago flying on a Boeing 747-400. Many of the celebrities who were on the first flight, including former England Test cricketer Sir Ian Botham, will join in the celebrations marking a very special day in aviation history.