Brian Leyshon is the definition of a legend for SA Group. Arriving in 2010 from the Fleet Air Arm, Brian was the very first consultant employed by SA Group.
A fascinating career
A helicopter pilot by profession, Brian served for over 40 years, including during the Falklands War in 1982. During this time, he operated the Westland Lynx, a British multi-purpose twin-engine military helicopter carried by HMS Coventry. Brian was one of the pilots who lifted casualties off HMS Sheffield when it was hit by a missile.
A standout memory during his service was: “sitting in the right-hand seat of a Lynx, showing the first picture of two new stingray torpedoes while formation flying to another Lynx with a frigate behind us crossing Lyme Bay. It was the afternoon of Thursday 15 October 1987, and the weather was the advance of a well-known storm.”
Brian’s mantra, ‘Flying Without Wings,’ stemmed from the early days in helicopters and proved that the improbable could be overcome with some tech wizardry, good training and regular practice.
For Brian, the three standout moments during his time at SA Group were:
1. The very first meeting to discuss the company’s vision and prospects
2. His first contract as a Task Lead
3. The decision to move to Employee Ownership in 2021
Jeremy Osborne, Director, said: “Brian is kind and knowledgeable, and he has always applied enthusiasm and diligence to his work. He constantly goes above and beyond what is required, and he helped shape the company into what it has become. We will miss him greatly.”
Meeting Her Majesty
Brian was lucky enough to meet the late HM Queen Elizabeth II on two occasions. The first being at the trooping of Fleet Air Arm colours at RN Air Station Yeovilton. Brian was presented to Her Majesty as a Squadron CO and treated to her dazzling smile.
At the second presentation, while he was at Permanent Joint Headquarters based in Northwood, London, Her Majesty asked if life had improved since he was out of the bunker. Brian said: “This proved that she was extremely well briefed because I had only just emerged into the light after spending five years in that bunker!”
Despite attempting to retire on more than one occasion, Brian always found a reason not to. He even found himself part of a two-man COVID Red Team that kept a high-level MOD multinational communication platform running during a global pandemic, a task that he completed with his usual vigour.
Brian will be spending his retirement exploring the UK in his campervan alongside his wife Sally, looking after two grandchildren, a charity, and running a Glastonbury public campsite during the annual festival.