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New career for RAF airwoman

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: December 21, 2012

By ROB SMYTH

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A FORMER Burton woman is set to fly off to a new future in Dubai as the sun sets on her near 25 year career in the RAF.

Heather Churchill, who lived in Branston, contacted the Mail ahead of the imminent end to her distinguished service as a flight operations officer in the RAF.

The 42-year-old is relocating to the United Arab Emirates to work for a civilian firm that helps train members of the military next month

She told the Mail: “I have had a great time but I knew that I had to leave now, while I was still relatively young, and could try something new.

“In my time in the RAF I have done 10 tours including Germany, Cyprus, the Falklands and Bahrain as well as four detachments including Iraq and Afghanistan.

“People often ask what is like serving in places like Iraq and I always say that is like being in a prison but wanting to be there.

“In truth, we were there for four months and you just get your head and do your job and that gets you through till you come home.”

Miss Churchill grew up in Branston before attending Rykneld Primary School and Paget High School.

She was also a member of the 351 air cadet squadron in the town, a decision that would eventually help her choose to join the RAF at the age of 18 after a brief period working for the Ind Coope brewery.

As she prepares to retire, Miss Churchill is still based at the RAF Flight Operations Training School in Shawbury as Flight Sergeant Senior Instructor, where she trained Burton man Ian Colclough earlier this year.

She added: “I didn’t even know Ian was from Burton until I read it in the Mail and thought it was a nice tale that two people from the same place were meeting at the start of one career and the end of another.

“I have now had 24 and a half years service and will be heading to Dubai to train the military in flight operations for a firm called Global Aerospace Logistics.

“I am really looking forward to the next stage of my life but will have fond memories of my time in the RAF. I have had a great time.”

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