Thursday 24th August 2023
Celebrating the achievements and dedication of women working in the defence community, Defence Discount Service has crowned the winner of its Inspirational Women in Defence award 2023.
With votes opening earlier this year on International Women’s Day, the award called upon the British defence community to nominate women working within all areas of the armed forces – including the reserve forces, MoD civil servants, cadet forces and UK-based NATO personnel – who had gone above and beyond the call of duty.
RAF veteran Liz McConaghy, also known as the ‘Chinook Crew Chick’, has been named the Defence Discount Service Inspirational Woman of the Year 2023.
Serving for over 17 years, Liz has racked up an incredible 3,000 flying hours with the RAF’s Chinook Fleet. Leaving her small town home in County Down at the age of 21, McConaghy was the youngest aircrew personnel to be deployed to Iraq, as well as the only female crew member on the Chinook for four years. Her career saw her amass two deployments to Iraq and 10 deployments to Helmand Afghanistan in support of Operation Herrick which gave her an insightful and very personal perspective on war.
In her book, Chinook Crew Chick, which was published in 2022, Liz details her struggles with PTSD and mental health after leaving the RAF. Liz now works as a motivational speaker, speaking candidly about her mental health struggles and sharing inspirational stories from her time in the RAF.
Commenting on this year’s campaign and winner, Alidad Moghaddam, CEO of Defence Discount Service, said:
“Reading the remarkable and diverse stories of all the servicewomen who were nominated has been truly humbling. The defence community is filled with countless inspiring women who demonstrate incredible commitment and deliver outstanding work, which makes picking just one worthy winner exceptionally difficult.”
“Liz’s journey resonated deeply with us at Defence Discount Service. Her courage in the face of PTSD and mental health challenges serves as a powerful testament that others facing similar struggles do not define us, but rather constitute a part of our life from which invaluable lessons can be learned.
“We’re extremely proud to honour Liz as our Inspirational Woman of the Year 2023, and would like to express our deepest gratitude for her altruism and dedication to uplifting the lives of others.”
Talking about her win, Liz said:
“I feel incredibly humbled to receive this award, as I’m just one of many forces personnel who have witnessed trauma and the after-effects. I guess I’m just lucky I have the chance now to share my story in the hope that it helps others, and thanks to Defence Discount Services for helping me to do that.’’
Defence Discount Service is the official MoD discount service for the British armed forces, veterans, and defence community, offering its members access to exclusive discounts for free online through their website.
A Defence Privilege Card can also be purchased for £4.99 for access to discounts on the high street in stores, restaurants and venues and is valid for five years. To register or find out more, visit www.defencediscountservice.co.uk.