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Project Wingman

1441. Emma Henderson
1442. David Fielding

Captain Emma Henderson and Captain David Fielding, from Moray and London, founded ‘Project Wingman’ to harness the talents of 5,000 volunteers from the airline industry to set up ‘first class lounges’ in over 70 hospitals across the UK to refresh, feed and pamper hardworking NHS staff.

Captain Emma Henderson and Captain David Fielding

Emma and David are both pilots who have been grounded and furloughed during lockdown, along with thousands of other people within the aviation industry, and wanted to use their experience and skills to benefit the wellbeing of frontline NHS and emergency services staff. Crew from all major UK airlines are participating in running the lounges, providing refreshments and creating a place in which NHS workers can de-stress.

In a personal letter to Emma, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

“I was so inspired to learn how you have harnessed the hospitality skills of thousands of your colleagues across the airline industry to support the extraordinary men and women of our NHS.

“With your first class lounges, you have provided a sanctuary where our carers can be cared for. Whether it’s a hot cup of tea, or a kind listening ear, ‘Project Wingman’ has brought warmth and compassion to those whose sacrifice and dedication has saved so many lives in this battle against Coronavirus.”

In a personal letter to David, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

“I want to thank you for the wonderful way in which you have enabled thousands of fellow volunteers from across the airline industry to support our extraordinary NHS workers.

“‘Project Wingman’ captures the sentiments of the whole nation, bringing comfort and kindness to the men and women who are saving so many lives by fighting on the frontline of our battle against Coronavirus.”

Emma said:

“I am delighted, honoured, and to be honest, completely humbled to be receiving an award recognising the work that ‘Project Wingman’ has done. The biggest reward has been seeing the massive difference our volunteers have made to the lives of NHS workers across the country, and I am so proud of our industry for pulling together and being wiling to help in the face of such immensely difficult times. This award really belongs to the 5,500 volunteers who have made this happen and helped ‘Project Wingman’ to go beyond our wildest dreams. Thank you for the recognition you are giving to my small part in this.”

David said:

“‘Project Wingman’ has been an incredible journey, starting out as a small idea to raise staff morale in the NHS by bringing a little First Class service into a local hospital or two. That we have launched in 70 hospitals the length and breadth of the country, as well as a couple in New York, has exceeded our wildest expectations. It has been a privilege to be part of one great industry uniting to support another in times of need, and to be recognised with an award for that is a most unexpected honour. Thank you.”

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