Queen's Birthday Honours: First female Red Arrows pilot becomes MBE

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image sourceGetty Images
image captionKirsty Murphy is the only female to be a pilot in the Red Arrows

The first female Red Arrows pilot said it was an "amazing surprise" to become an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

Kirsty Murphy, 43, from Northampton, first flew for the display team in 2009 and has performed 136 public displays and 133 flypasts in 11 countries.

South Northamptonshire MP Andrea Leadsom has become a dame for her political service.

Kettering-born Oxford vaccine developer Prof Sarah Gilbert has also been recognised with a damehood.

Ms Murphy, who is now a pilot for the Sywell-based Blades display team, said she was "absolutely delighted" to receive the honour for services to aviation.

She said: "My dad was in the Air Force so that exposed me and I thought I really want to do this."

image sourcePA Media
image captionKirsty Murphy said flying for the Red Arrows was hard work by "really fun"

The pilot said the Red Arrows were "a massive team, so to wear that red flying suit was a real honour".

In 2019 she became an aviation ambassador for the Department for Transport.

She said: "I was lucky, with my dad, but many don't have a family connection to aviation, so I'm passionate about getting out there and speaking to young people about aviation."

image sourceHoC
image captionAndrea Leadsom said she would continue to serve her constituents after becoming a dame

Mrs Leadsom, who was Leader of the House of Commons from 2017 to 2019, said she was "deeply honoured" to receive a damehood.

The Conservative politician, 58, has been MP for South Northamptonshire since 2010, and twice run to be the party's leader.

She said: "It is an immense privilege to be recognised for service to politics."

image sourcePA Media
image captionProf Sarah Gilbert has also be recognised with a damehood for her work on the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine

Prof Gilbert, who becomes a dame, is recognised on the list alongside six Oxford University colleagues involved in the creation of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

She said it was important to recognise "the large number of people who worked very hard to get this vaccine developed, manufactured, tested in trials... and now the people working on the vaccine rollout".

The 59-year-old was born in Kettering, and went to Kettering High School, before going onto study at the University of East Anglia.

image sourceFIBA
image captionLisa Wainwright has worked in several sports including volleyball, basketball and netball

Among those also honoured were Lisa Wainwright, from Brixworth, who has been appointed MBE for services to sport.

The 50-year-old, who is currently the chief executive of the Sport and Recreation Alliance, is honoured for her work in developing two new child protection policies for England Netball.

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