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Captain Maddie flies to the rescue

Friday, 05 June 2020
University of Nottingham alumna Maddie Pizzoni is on the frontline supporting emergency services as part of the work being done by the British Army.

A University of Nottingham alumna has been sharing her experiences of supporting the frontline response to the Coronavirus.

Captain Madeline Pizzoni is supporting the emergency services as part of the work being done by the British Army. She studied Nursing Science at Nottingham, graduating in 2013 and is now an Army Air Corps Wildcat pilot.

Throughout the coronavirus crisis she has been deployed on Operation Rescript; providing help to the emergency services and on standby to assist with the movement of life saving equipment across the country as well as transporting patients in harder to reach areas.

She was part of the team asked to be involved in a training trip that would culminate in a surprise birthday fly-past for Sir Tom Moore. Maddie was able to fly directly over the top of Sir Tom’s house and give him a birthday wave and salute.

Maddie's 'office'

Maddie said she applied to Nottingham to study nursing because she knew that she wanted a job where she would be able to make a difference to peoples’ lives.

She said: “I had an absolute ball at University. I loved being in Nottingham, both on campus and in Lenton from second year. The long hours as student nurses were a little tough as a Fresher but the relationships we made with patients and the lives that we could be a part of made those early mornings all the more rewarding.

“I joined the East Midlands University Officers’ Training Corps (affectionately named EMU) in my first year. I had always been intrigued by the Army but honestly thought it was something I wasn’t really cut out for – I wasn’t particularly fit, I had no military experience and I was under-confident in my abilities. But I joined up with a couple of friends and never look back. My experience in EMU completely shaped my decision to change careers and join the Army full time. It was while I was there that someone floated the idea of flying within the Military. I thought I had absolutely no chance of passing the selection tests, as I didn’t have a background in maths or engineering, but after a bit of encouragement from friends I went along to the selection to see what it was all about."

It was a real privilege to be able to show our appreciation of all the money Sir Tom has raised by taking part in his birthday celebrations. Not only is he an incredible inspiration in his achievement of reaching 100 years old, but he has also been a beacon of hope and positive amid the uncertainty of the last few months – a true example of overcoming and adapting in a difficult situation.
Captain Madeline Pizzoni, University of Nottingham Alumna (Nursing 2013)

A turning point for Maddie was passing the selection tests for the Army Pilots’ Course and at that point she made the leap from nursing to the Army. 

During the pandemic Maddie has been part of the COVID Support Force, providing help to the emergency services and moving people and equipment across the country. 

She said: "A large part of our day-to-day flying has also been maintaining essential currency: skills such as low flying, night flying and flying in formation are perishable and we have to ensure that we routinely carry out these types of trips to keep competent."

But no two days are the same.

“I was absolutely delighted to be asked to be involved in a training trip with our sister aircraft, the Apache, that would culminate in a surprise birthday fly-past for Sir Tom Moore", she said.

"Not only is he an incredible inspiration in his achievement of reaching 100 years old, but he has also been a beacon of hope and positive amid the uncertainty of the last few months – a true example of overcoming and adapting in a difficult situation.

"Led by the Apache, we were able to fly directly over the top of his house and give him a birthday wave and salute. My crewman, leaning out of the back door, assured me that he was waving back at us. It was a real privilege to be able to show our appreciation of all the money Sir Tom has raised by taking part in his birthday celebrations.”

Liz Cass - Head of News
Email: liz.cass@nottingham.ac.uk
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