OnetoOne talks to the key personalities at RAF Coningsby to find out what makes them tick.

The Station Commander’s right hand woman, Norma Outen shares her wisdom after a distinguished career keeping junior (and not so junior) officers in check.


What was your first job?

Archive Assistant zzzzzzzz

What’s the best piece of advice you could give someone?

Think before you speak.

What’s the skill you’d most like to have?

To be in two places at once.

What’s your favourite holiday destination?

Northern Cyprus with a bunch of great friends.

What car do you drive?


What are you passionate about?

My Family.

Who’s your work or personal hero/heroine?

Sir Alex.

What would be your perfect day away from work?

Chilling out with family and friends in the sunshine.

What’s your greatest work achievement?

Saving the Lancaster.

What’s your greatest personal achievement?

Apart from winning a Christmas cake competition at Kinloss in 1979, Designing & Project Managing the building of my house was quite satisfying and it’s still standing after 20 years.

What’s your favourite quote or motto?

Too much of a good thing can be wonderful. (Mae West).

What’s the best/worst quality in a leader?

Best – Moral Courage, Worst – Indecision.

What would you choose as your last meal?

Seafood Tempura

What was the worst piece of advice you’ve been given?

‘Don’t be a PA’.

What was your best meeting ever (and why)?

Arranged a critical Op Ellamy meeting to plan the deployment of Typhoon to Goya del Col. I had 10 mins to get all key individuals assembled with all relevant docs. I called, they responded.

What’s your favourite pastime/relaxation activity?

Reading, Writing, Cooking, Food & Wine, relaxing with great friends and family.

What’s your favourite music/musician?

Fifties love songs, Nina Simone, Otis Redding sums it up.

What’s your all time favourite book (and why)?

The Time travellers’ wife. It got me thinking.

What did you want to be as a child?

Join the Navy.

What can’t you live without?

My Mobile.

Name one person you’d like to have dinner with (and why)?

Mr Outen. He always pays.

Tell us about a turning point in your career

OC Ops Wg (2006) suggesting I apply to be his PA.

What’s in your handbag?

Everything you could possibly require to save the world.

What’s the best thing about your job?

The tempo and diversity, no two days are ever the same.

If you weren’t in your current role, what would you be doing?

Being Mrs Clooney.

What was your worst mistake (and what did you learn)?

Late 90’s, Receptionist in the Officers Mess. I accidently left the Tannoy on while my colleague and I decided to discuss the ‘merits’ of the then Mess Manager. Learned obviously to turn the damn thing off.

What’s the question you’d most like to have been asked?

Hendricks or Bombay?