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From flying to feet

Jenny Clarke, chiropodist at the Marston Foot Clinic,  now has her feet firmly on the ground after a thrilling career as the RAF’s first operational female pilot.

She has an extraordinary tale to tell and here she talks to Frome Times about her career flying Hercules aircraft, her change of career to become a chiropodist and what her future plans hold.

Q. “So I see from the photos that you used to be a military pilot. What did you fly and how did you get from flying to feet?”

Jenny said, “I flew the Hercules in the RAF from 1991 to 1995. As the first woman to fly operationally in the RAF it was both exhilarating and intimidating. However, I always planned to have a short career in the RAF then do other things. So I left and worked as a fundraiser for a hospice and then an African NGO for a few years before retraining as a chiropodist.

Q. “Isn’t looking after feet a bit boring after being a pilot?”

Jenny responded, “No – I love my job – I have always been motivated to work with and help people and this job really ticks the boxes for me. Plus it means I can be around to look after my son.”

Q. “So what is next for you?”

Jenny said, “I plan to carry on with my chiropody business for the foreseeable future.  But for one month a year I hope to work as a volunteer overseas with people with Leprosy.

Q. “Where did you have in mind?”

Jenny added, “I am going to Cambodia for most of June to meet with some contacts to discuss working out there.  It may not lead to anything but hopefully will start the ball rolling.

“It has always been my goal in life to work overseas with an organisation like VSO –  but due to work and family commitments I can’t go permanently until I retire. Until then I hope a month a year will make a difference.”

Frome Times said, “Thank you for telling us your story – we wish you the very best for your trip and hope you will update us on how you got on when you come home.”