Forres women recognised in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list

Two local women have been recognised in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List for their charitable work.

Captain Emma Henderson, from Kinloss, has been awarded the MBE for her ‘outstanding service in support of well-being for NHS Staff’.

Project Wingman is a nationwide movement to support medics during the Covid-19 pandemic. The organisation was started in March and has grown to more than 5000 volunteers in 80 hospitals across the UK.

Captain Henderson called on the services of furloughed airline workers to initially offer ‘tea and empathy’ to overworked medics.

She said: “I am thrilled and completely humbled to be receiving this incredible honour, especially after a year that has been so difficult for so many people.

“The hard work and dedication that has gone in to making Project Wingman happen is something that we can and should all be proud of, and demonstrates not only the extraordinary unity of our profession as aircrew, but the determination and resilience of good people who knew they could reach out to others.

“We have truly seen the best of people in the worst of times. I can’t thank these people enough for everything they have done to support not only the charity, but also me personally as we have worked together to support NHS staff as they have supported us.”

She continues to receive regular recognition from both hospital staff and the leadership of individual NHS Trusts are keen to acknowledge the benefits of Project Wingman.

Emma continues: “It is with a heart full of gratitude to receive such recognition for all of our hard work and I would like to thank everyone at Project Wingman, as well as the NHS Trusts and the independent businesses who have supported us for seeing the vision, and running with it”.

Project Wingman has also given a significant number of aviation professionals a sense of purpose during a time of great uncertainty within their own industry, and in doing so she has gained the complete respect of her peers within the aviation community.

Prior to the Covid crisis Emma was employed as an Airline Captain. She is an accomplished artist and resolute in her many charitable endeavours. Emma is a registered STEM Ambassador; promoting aviation as a potential career to children of all ages as well as independently providing mentoring services to those considering the pilot career.

In addition, Emma is the chairperson for Forres Tennis Club and has recently become a Trustee of the Leanchoil Trust in her home town of Forres.

Mary Nelson, from Forres, was also awarded the BEM (British Empire Medal) for her services to the homeless. Mrs Nelson moved to Forres around 15 years ago, and volunteered for Moray Fresh Start before becoming its chairwoman, a role which she has now given up, but remains very active with the charity.

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