Ex-airwoman made OBE

A FORMER RAF Wing Commander has been made an OBE for her work.

Caroline Purdom, a former Great Cornard Upper School pupil, was named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list on Saturday for services to the Royal Air Force.

Mrs Purdom, who retired in January, was recognised for her work at RAF Northolt in Ruislip.

She said: “I was taken aback when I found out. While I’m still in touch with people from the RAF, you tend to think you’ve moved on after you retire.

“It was a wonderful surprise to have my work recognised at the highest level.”

Mrs Purdom attended school in Boxford, Stoke-by-Nayland and Great Cornard before joining the Air Force as a Personnel Support Officer in 1991. She was promoted through the ranks, making Wing Commander in 2007.

She said: “I originally joined the RAF as I didn’t know what I wanted to do after university, and it sounded exciting and offered me the chance to travel. That turned into 19 years in the force.”

Mrs Purdom worked as an Officer Commanding Support Wing at RAF Northolt, overseeing the £320million redevelopment of the base in 2008.

“I was responsible for things like finance, infrastructure, training and business development,” she explained. “When I arrived, they were knocking everything down and by the time I left we had a brand new station.”

Mrs Purdom now lives in High Wycombe with her husband Mark and her five-year-old daughter Sarah, and plans to spend more time with her family following her retirement.

She said: “My family have been very supportive so I am looking forward to giving something back and hopefully getting back to Sudbury more often to see mum and dad too.”

Her father, George Bullett, said: “We couldn’t really believe it when we heard she’d been honoured.

“We are so proud of her – my wife Barbara had a cry when we found out.”