The first Attagirls Molly Rose Pilot Scholarship which is valued at £15,000 has been awarded to 17-year-old student Georgia Pescod from Cambridge. Forty-two applications were received from young women aged between 17-24 throughout the UK. This aviation scholarship was created by Aetheris Films and funded by Marshall of Cambridge in association with the British Women Pilots’ Association and is the only one of its kind in the UK which entirely funds all elements of attaining a Private Pilot’s Licence (‘PPL’).
Georgia was selected from five finalists who attended interviews and flights in May, and she will receive full pilot training at the Cambridge Aero Club over the summer months with all costs covered.
The ‘Attagirls Molly Rose Pilot Scholarship’ is the brainchild of Paul Olavesen-Stabb and RAF Squadron Leader (RTD) Andrew Rawcliffe, Directors of Aetheris Films and co-authors of the film screenplay ‘Attagirls’ which was adapted from the novel by Paul Olavesen-Stabb. The scholarship offers the chance to a young female candidate with little or no flying experience, and who might otherwise not have had the necessary resources to complete their PPL. The scholarship was inspired by one of the aviatrix heroines of the Air Transport Auxiliary during WWII, Molly Rose. Molly is featured in the novel and screenplay entitled ‘Attagirls’, based on the true story of Molly’s life as a pilot in ATA. Molly and her comrades remain today an absolute inspiration to all young women, with the story of their unimaginable bravery, determination and sacrifices, when they were so young themselves, still empowering women everywhere…’courage under pressure’. Aetheris Films is seeking to co-produce Attagirls the feature film.
With aviation being a hugely male-dominated industry and career, where only 6% of pilots are women; Aetheris wants to empower young women from all walks of life to be able to pursue a career in a male dominated industry. The winning applicant Georgia will be mentored by pilot Zoe Cameron, Scholarship Ambassador and airline pilot for Virgin Atlantic.
Georgia Pescod grew up in Cambridge and her primary school was across the road from Cambridge Airport. From the age of 4 she has wanted to be a pilot and at the age of 12 she joined the Royal Air Force Air Cadets, since taking every opportunity to fly.
Said Georgia: “I am hugely grateful to Aetheris Films and the Board of Trustees of the Attagirls Molly Rose Pilot Scholarship, and to Marshalls of Cambridge, Cambridge Aero Club and to the BWPA for selecting me and for believing in me. My dream is about to come true. One of my goals after becoming a pilot is to fly an aircraft with another female pilot without it having to be international Women’s day and without any publicity. I aim for it to become a normal occurrence without it having to turn heads. If male pilots can do it, why can’t female pilots!”
Georgia will obtain her flying training with the Marshall owned Cambridge Aero Club, which was founded in 1930 by Molly Rose’s brother Arthur (later Sir Arthur) Marshall. The British Women Pilots’ Association (BWPA) has generously agreed to sponsor the travel and subsistence costs for Georgia. The panel of judges comprised Andrew Rawcliffe; Zoe Cameron, a pilot with Virgin Atlantic and who is the AMRPS Ambassador and mentor; and Sharon Nicholson FRAeS, Chairwoman of the British Women Pilots' Association (BWPA).
Andrew Rawcliffe commented: “The scholarship is the only one of its kind in the UK and a great opportunity for a young woman to gain her PPL in a short period of time, and will set her on the road to a full career in aviation. The standard of applicants for this year’s scholarship was incredibly high and it was a very difficult task to choose between these talented young women to select a winner. Georgia is indeed a worthy recipient and will be a great ambassador for Attagirls. I look forward to following her progress”.
Sharon Nicholson FRAeS, Chairwoman of the British Women Pilots' Association (BWPA) said: “Georgia was awarded this scholarship as she impressed the panel with her confidence and interest in everything aviation. If we stepped back in time, it is possible to imagine that Molly Rose had similar aspirations in her youth and is now gifting someone following in her footsteps, with a 21st century twist. I found Molly an amazing presence when we first met at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London, and subsequently at other celebratory events acknowledging her part in the ATA. This scholarship will give Georgia a great boost and I look forward to following her aviation story for years to come.
Paul Olavesen-Stabb, author of the novel said: “With the publication of the book ‘Attagirls’, and the planned feature film, we were determined that there should be a legacy.” This view was shared by Molly Rose’s family business, Marshall of Cambridge. Paul added: "We are extremely grateful that Marshall of Cambridge is financially supporting this, the inaugural training scholarship in association with Cambridge Aero Club and the BWPA. We hope to develop the initiative in the coming years to embrace opportunities within the commercial sector with support from additional companies in the world of aviation. The scholarship is synonymous with Molly’s story. She was not afraid to embrace opportunities that during that time were exclusive to men. She was an apprentice engineer at her father’s company and thereafter a pilot, and at a time when it was extremely rare for women to take on such roles. The message of the book Attagirls is one of ‘courage under pressure’ - a message for young women to have the courage to embrace an opportunity despite its challenges”.
Terry Holloway, Managing Director of the Cambridge Aero Club, said: “Marshall of Cambridge is extremely proud to be helping Georgia to build her extraordinary future as a pilot, and it is wonderful that she is following in the footsteps of Molly Rose at the Cambridge Aero Club. I flew Molly Rose to Farnborough to the SBAC show in the Marshall twin-engined Aztec some 60 years after she had last handled the controls of an aeroplane and quite deliberately flew her over Luton and White Waltham where she had been based as an ATA pilot. On the way back to Cambridge on what was a delightfully still evening I invited her to fly the aeroplane: She flew for around 30 minutes demonstrating great skill, and at about 200 feet on the final approach to land turned to me and said to me: “I think you had better take over now and do the landing dear!” !