Who is Polly Vacher?

The Polly Vacher building, number 38 on the map and home to Computer Science and Biomedical Engineering, like many of the buildings on campus, was renamed after a person who studied at the university in order to honour their achievements.

Polly Vacher was born in Oxfordshire 1944 and she studied her Master in Music Education at Reading University.  She is a trained physiotherapist and she spent twenty years in music education. She became interested in flying after going skydiving and she obtained her private pilot license in 1994.

She is most well known for her ‘Wings Around the World Challenge’ in aid of the charity Flying Scholarships for the Disabled in 2001. Her single-engine aircraft was the smallest one to be flown solo by a woman around the world via Australia.

In 2003 she set out on a ‘Voyage to the Ice’ which led to her becoming the first woman to fly solo over the polar regions. This tour took just under a year and she also visited the North Pole and all seven continents.

She also completed the ‘Wings Around Britain challenge’ in which she landed in 221 airfields in the Jeppesen VFR Manual in 2007. It was a 19,000 mile round trip which took 158 hour, all in support of the Flying Scholarships for the Disabled (FSD) Charity.

She is dedicated to the FSD Charity which provides the opportunity for people with disabilities to learn to fly which improves their confidence, self-esteem and is simply an opportunity of a lifetime. She was awarded an MBE in 2002 for her charitable work and contributions which account to over £500,000.

She has written a book called ‘The Exhilarating Story of One Woman’s Epic Flight from the North Pole to Antarctica’ which details all of her achievements including her outstanding three world records all in the field of aviation.

Written by Amelia Dinsdale

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