MAYOR’S WEEK:  8 – 14 OCTOBER 2023

MAYOR’S WEEK:  8 – 14 OCTOBER 2023

On Friday I had the pleasure of joining the biographer and author Judy Lomax in unveiling a blue plaque for Sheila Scott.

Sheila was the first British pilot to fly solo around the world in a light aircraft. The journey took over 34 days and required many stops including a flight over the Pacific Ocean requiring expert navigation to land on a tiny atoll for refuelling. Some of the legs required being in the air for 17 hours – it was certainly an endurance test.

She was born in Worcester in 1922 and died in 1988. Sheila’s father was a city councillor and alderman. Sheila used to help serve at the family bakery and dairy shops WH Hopkins and Co. Anyone remember these shops at 28 Broad Street and 3 College Street?

Intriguingly Sheila’s first flight was over Worcester in 1929 when she was about seven years old. How did that happen? Enter Sir Alan Cobham.

Alan Cobham was an interesting chap – in 1929 he started his ambitious Municipal Aerodrome Campaign where he toured Britain encouraging town councils to build local airports in the hope of drumming up business for his activities as an aviation consultant.

Each event would start with free flights for local dignitaries followed by free flights for local schoolchildren.

The day would finish with as many paid-for pleasure flights as could be managed for the public, the income from which would pay his expenses and make him a profit.

We are not sure where the free flights happened – but this was in the early days of aviation – maybe it was on a field at Perdiswell?

Sir Alan Cobham was a key figure in aviation, became a sponsor of Sheila and was instrumental in securing Worcester’s airport (at Perdiswell) in the late 1930s.

Find out more: Sheila Scott Biography by Judy Lomax


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