This is Joy Lofthouse - the WW2 fighter pilot who owned the crowd at Wimbledon


Despite the raft of sporting celebrities - including David Beckham, Sir Chris Hoy and Sir Geoff Hurst - there was one figure who easily upstaged the lot of them.

Second World War Spitfire pilot Joy Lofthouse, 93, was cheered to the Centre Court rafters as she was introduced to the crowd and celebrities around her.

Taking her seat on Saturday in the Royal Box as Andy Murray roared into the last 16 of Wimbledon.

Mrs Lofthouse flew Spitfires and Hurricanes after joining the Air Transport Auxiliary in 1943 with her sister to do their bit for the war effort.

The pair, who joined up after spotting an advert in a flying magazine, were two of just 164 women who were allowed to fly with the ATA during the war.

She was recently filmed, aged 92, having another go at flying a Spitfire, describing the plane as "the nearest thing to having wings of your own" - though admitting she was "more aware" of her age this time around...

Adding to her well-deserved ovation were World Cup winners Sir Bobby Charlton, Sir Geoff Hurst and Gordon Banks. Beckham also received a raucous round of applause as he was introduced to the crowd, along with sporting luminaries such as heptathlete Denise Lewis, cricketers James Anderson and Stuart Broad and former Irish rugby captain Brian O'Driscoll.

Before play started under the roof, Britain's Davis Cup captain Leon Smith led James Ward, Kyle Edmund, Jamie Murray and Dan Evans on a lap of honour around the court.

Leon Smith parades the Davis Cup trophy on Centre Court.
Leon Smith parades the Davis Cup trophy on Centre Court (Steve Parsons/PA)

Murray raced into the Championships' second week with a convincing straight sets win over John Millman, overcoming the Australian in two hours and 10 minutes. With defending champion Novak Djokovic slumping to a shock four-set defeat by American Sam Querrey, bookmakers have installed Murray as the favourite for the men's singles title at SW19.

But Murray, 29, shrugged off the suggestion, joking: "The bookies don't always get it right. They made a few mistakes over the last few weeks across a number of different things."