When Lottie Cotterell’s career as a commercial pilot was temporarily put on hold, she showed true Worthian spirit by supporting a project to provide much-needed wellbeing and mental health support to NHS staff, and it led to her taking part in a ‘wing walk’. Find out more in our latest Alumni in the News feature.
Lottie (St Anne’s, 2012) completed her commercial pilot training in November 2020, just as the UK was put into a second national lockdown. She had spent two years training and studying with the hope of being able to fly passengers around the globe, but that was put on hold so she became a volunteer for Project Wingman.
She explained: “Project Wingman is a charity that was established at the beginning of the pandemic by furloughed and redundant aircrew and provides 'First Class Lounges' in over 120 hospitals across the UK. Since March 2020, the charity has brought together over 6,500 dedicated aircrew volunteers to provide much needed wellbeing and mental health support to over two million NHS staff. I have volunteered at numerous hospitals across the South East; it has been humbling and also very eye opening to speak to NHS staff about their stories and the challenges they have faced throughout the pandemic.”
In April Lottie took part in a wing walk, raising more than £1,250 to help Project Wingman buy a mobile 'First Class Lounge' that will be able to travel around the UK to even more hospitals. She said: “For those of you that don't know, despite the name, a wing walk involves being strapped to the top of a plane and often (in my case) involves aerobatics too! Despite being a truly exhilarating experience, it is safe to say, I wasn't prepared for the cold temperatures at 2,000 feet as the pilot took me on a rollercoaster of loop the loops.”
While Lottie is looking forward to resuming her career, she said: “Since finishing my training, the past six months have been very different from what I had initially planned and hoped for. However, I have met people and joined a community that I wouldn't have been part of before, I have travelled across the country to make cups of tea for hundreds of our brilliant NHS staff and I have worked as part a team with dedicated airline crew to provide 'First Class Lounges' and wellbeing support. As the world begins to reopen, mental health and wellbeing of everyone, including the people that look after us, is more important than ever. I believe that Project Wingman is an innovative and fantastic charity, putting wellbeing at the forefront of everything it does.”
For more on Lottie’s wing walk, including how to donate, click here:
Worth Society is the School’s thriving alumni association that enables former pupils and staff to stay in touch with one another for business and social networking purposes, providing careers advice, support and lifelong guidance. The Society has become increasingly involved in supporting recent leavers. This year’s Year 13 leavers will become members of the Society this summer.