Joanne Ethell.
Joanne Ethell.

Dead pilot remembered

SHE died two years ago doing something she loved, and yesterday Joanne Ethell was commemorated at St John's College Woodlawn, where she once attended school.

As a tribute to her passion and determination to achieve, the Joanne Ethell Memorial Shield has been established for Duke of Edinburgh participants who receive their hard-earned gold award.

Ms Ethell received her Duke of Edinburgh gold award in November, 2008.

On December 18, 2008, she was killed while giving a flying lesson to a young Indian student in Sydney after her light plane collided with another light plane in mid-air.

Ms Ethell's mother Kay, while visibly emotional, was on hand to help present the award to Chris Crane, the latest St John's College student to receive his gold award.

“I hope (the award) encourages kids to understand that even ordinary students can achieve so much,” Mrs Ethell said.

“Joanne was not a straight-A student or a sports star, but she was passionate and determined.

“She didn't do it easy as it was hard work for her, but she achieved her goals where others would have walked away.”

Mrs Ethell said her daughter had wanted to be a pilot since she was in Year 6.

“Her grandfather was a doctor in regional Queensland and her dad flies recreationally,” she said.

“She had to get her hours up so she got her instructor rating and her goal was to fly for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.”

While the latter was a goal that was never achieved, Mrs Ethell hoped other students would gain inspiration from Joanne's life.

“Hopefully they learn to go for it and learn not to be afraid,” she said.

“That is Joanne's legacy.”

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