Spalding sportswoman Lucy takes the baton to start RAF centenary celebrations

BATON RELAY: Flt Lt Lucy Nell carries the RAF100 Centenary Baton past the Cenotaph at the start of its journey across the UK.  Photo by Senior Aircraftman Nicholas Egan.
BATON RELAY: Flt Lt Lucy Nell carries the RAF100 Centenary Baton past the Cenotaph at the start of its journey across the UK. Photo by Senior Aircraftman Nicholas Egan.
  • Airwoman from town plays major role in air service’s 100th anniversary
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An RAF medical officer from Spalding has played a starring role in events to mark the service’s centenary year.

Lucy Nell (28), who holds the rank of Flight Lieutenant, was one of six RAF officers invited to carry the baton and signal the start of a national campaign celebrating 100 years of the aerial branch of the British Armed Forces.

The first leg of the baton relay took place in London on Easter Sunday when Lucy was invited to carry it in her role as an elite RAF triathlete and a medical officer based at RAF Cosford in Shropshire.

Lucy said: “It was an incredible honour to be asked to be one of the starting runners for the RAF Baton Relay in London and to represent the RAF in our centenary year.

“Sport and the RAF are two of my passions and both of them have been a hugely important part of my life for as long as I can remember.

“It was particularly symbolic to witness the passing of the baton from World War II veteran, and ‘The Great Escape’ prisoner of war survivor, Air Commodore Charles Clarke, to one of youngest current aircraftmen, Air Commodore Adam Wood.

RAF AT 100: Flight Lieutenant Lucy Nell (back left) with other RAF100 Baton Relay runners and the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, at the Royal Courts of Justice in London before the start of the Relay.  Photo by Sergeant Peter George.

RAF AT 100: Flight Lieutenant Lucy Nell (back left) with other RAF100 Baton Relay runners and the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, at the Royal Courts of Justice in London before the start of the Relay. Photo by Sergeant Peter George.

“The whole day was a special experience, particularly for me as someone who is currently able to compete as an elite triathlete, whilst also having a fantastic career to return to.”

Lucy joined the RAF after a spell with 1406 Spalding Squadron Air Training Corps (ATC) whilst studying at Spalding High School 16 years ago.

She then studied medicine at Leeds University, funded by an RAF bursary and later moved to Birmingham where she worked as a junior doctor and also trained as a triathlete.

Lucy said: “The whole day was a special experience and one I will never forget.

It was an incredible honour to be part of the start of the RAF Baton Relay in London and to represent the RAF in our centenary year

Lucy Nell, of Spalding and RAF Cosford, Shropshire

“I hope the RAF100 Baton will inspire the next generation as it travels across the country.”

Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, Chief of the Air Staff, said: “In our 100th year, we want to showcase the vital role the RAF continues to play in defending the British people and protecting our nation’s interests.

“Launched on Easter Sunday, April 1, these celebrations are a fitting recognition and thank you to the exceptional dedication, spirit and achievements of our men and women.

“They also encourage us to look to the future as the greatest legacy of RAF100 will be its ability to inspire a whole new generation so that together we can help shape our next century.”

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