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Inspirational talk wows audience

Fast jet pilot Mandy Hickson gave a stunning talk to a delighted webinar audience hosted by the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust on Sunday (9 Oct).

Mandy, now a motivational speaker, served in the RAF as a Tornado GR4 fast jet pilot and operated in a number of hostile environments, including patrolling the ‘no fly’ zone over Iraq, at one point having to take extreme evasive action when her aircraft was attacked by a heat-seaking missile.

One of the RAF's very first female fighter pilots, Mandy used her personal experiences around rejection, determination, teamwork and confidence to deliver a number of broader points relevant to both work and life in general.

She delivered an inspiring and fascinating presentation with self-deprecating humour and well chosen illustrations before answering a number of questions from an appreciative audience.

Mandy also revealed that her book, An Officer, Not a Gentleman, which tells of her determination to succeed in her pioneering role, was turned down by one publisher because a predominantly male readership for aviation-themed books "would not be interested in a women pilot". The book has gone on to be a best-seller and is available from Mandy's website at

The autumn series continues on Sunday 6 November (2.30pm) with a talk by Stuart Outred on the intriguing circumstances that led to the capture, and later the execution, of Violette Szabo, who served with F Section Special Operations Executive (SOE) during the second world war.

Stuart spent three years investigating the circumstances around Violette's capture with forensic attention to detail, using his experience as a detective and his military service in an attempt to find out what really happened to Violette between landing by parachute in support of the D-Day landings and her execution in February 1945.

Other presentations planned for this season include a talk by John Harris on the work of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission on Sunday 20 November and a presentation and book signing by TV personality Jan Leeming on The Mouchotte Diaries on Sunday 27 November.

Ticket prices:

Friend of the Few (Hurricane) Free Entry

Friend of the Few (Spitfire) £5

Guest of Friend of the Few (max one per friend) £6

Non-members of Friends of the Few £12.

For details and to book (including for the RAF presentation) phone 01303 249292 or email

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