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Aviation fans working in the NHS share their stories.

By 22 April 2020April 30th, 2021One Comment

Changing roles within the NHS are common place as we react and adapt to deal with the pandemic.

We speak to aviation fans to find out what life is really like on the frontline.

Jenny, a GP working on Jersey, has seen a complete change in her role in the last few weeks and is now working in the hospital setting full time.

Paula is a Team Lead Advanced Clinical Practitioner in Acute Medicine working with Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation.

What is your speciality?

I work at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and I am a Team Lead Advanced Clinical Practitioner in Acute Medicine.

My role has changed enormously in the past 4 weeks. The whole hospital is now working very differently, the hospital is now divided into COVID and non COVID areas. This has involved many services having to be relocated. The very fluid situation has led to lots of changes for patients and staff, with recommendations being updated more than once a day. Anxiety levels for both patients and staff are understandably very high. Supporting my team through this has been my priority.  Clinically we are working in COVID areas – some very sick people around.

I am very worried about contracting COVID 19. I see people dying daily of it. At work in a way I feel safe, as I have the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Our Trust appears to have so far got the right PPE in the right places. I feel more anxious when in the supermarket if I’m honest.

I am so lucky that I can go in the early morning NHS protected times – amazing I can be in and out in 25 minutes now, I used to mooch about and take up to an hour!

The clap for carers makes me very emotional and humbled. I always say I am doing the job I am trained to do. I go out and clap too – to recognise the effort everyone is putting in to stay safe.

We had a member of staff die of COVID – we did a special clap for him.

The best piece of advice I can give the public is follow the Government Guideline. Social distancing and hand washing are very effective tools against this virus. Don’t think that wearing gloves and mask in the supermarkets are going to stop you contracting it. If you wear gloves you won’t wash your hands. You will then spread the virus. If you touch your mask or take if off it must be thrown away. Virus particles will get into the inside of your mask when you take it off then you will breath them in if you re-use it.

The first airshow I went to was Farnborough in 1983 with Craig we were 17! We didn’t even drive, in those days we went on the train.

It’s hard to say just one memorable air show moment. The last Vulcan flight at Southport Air show was definitely emotional, JPs Typhoon 2019 Display at RIAT was amazing and although not really an air show (being on the Mall), when the 100 flypast went over so many people it was one special day.

My favourite ASALI piece is my Spitfire Weekender. Always looks amazing, feels great and luxurious.

Heather works at the Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth and has done so for 13 years!


What is your speciality?

I am a Physiotherapy Associate Practitioner for the Orthopaedic team. I have been a part of the team for 13 years, this is a fairly new role between an assistant and a Qualified PT. The role usually involves assessing and treating elective and trauma patients.

My role has changed immensely in the last few weeks. We’ve been learning new skills to support nurses and other teams on the wards such as speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and even nursing skills to take the pressure off them.

You feel like one multi disciplinary team working together even helping out with meal times.

It does worry me. It’s surrounding us all and all you can do is follow the guidelines which change on a daily basis. Hands are so sore from washing and we’re gowned, gloved and masked up constantly but it’s there to protect us and the patients.

Clap for Carers makes me feel proud to do what I do. Good days, bad days, I love my job and it’s a good feeling when it is appreciated.

I’m there clapping myself for my colleagues and NHS family in general.


I cannot nag enough about hand washing, you might think it’s fine wearing gloves out and about but your hands are then in and out of bags, scratching your face and so on. Keep hands away from your head and wash them!

My first airshow was Bournemouth in 2015. However living in Portsmouth we’ve been very lucky to have displays (mainly from the Red Arrows) for events like the Festival of the Seas, America’s Cup, Cowes Week and the IOW Festival. My earliest memory would be from 1983/84 when HMS Daedulus had an Air Day. Chinooks are also never far away due to our proximity to Odiham!

My most memorable moment was at RIAT 2016 when I got a tip-off from a lovely PR lady to meet the Red Arrows at the end of the day. Even though the pilots change over the years you watch them it is amazing to meet those that fly them!

My favourite piece is the light blue cardholder. I found myself buying bags that would fit around my brick sized wallet that I had carrying every loyalty card known to man that I don’t need on a daily basis! So they are great for essential cards. Quite like my Travel and Stripe too!

Are you struggling during the lockdown or know someone that is?

ASALI are pleased to support 2 charities that are here for the wider RAF Family in times of need. Both the RAF Association and RAF Benevolent Fund receive funds from us for every sale made and we are so proud of this relationship.

During the pandemic their support services remain. You can read more here. 

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