We are delighted to announce that Corporal Shona Brownlee MBE is joining our team of RAF Association Ambassadors.

Corporal Brownlee is a Musician in the RAF Central Band. She is also a member of the RAF’s Elite Athlete scheme, part of the Great Britain Para-Alpine Ski Team and (in 2023) was the British para-triathlon champion.

Shona Brownlee completed both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Music Performance and worked as a freelance musician prior to joining the RAF as a Musician in 2012.

RAFA ambassador Shona Brownlee

Her career plans were unexpectedly altered when a seemingly innocuous ankle injury sustained during Basic Recruit Training developed complications and eventually led to a below-knee amputation in 2018.

Having never skied prior to injury, Shona was fortunate to be offered the chance to learn to sit-ski through the Battle Back programme, with whom she began racing at military alpine skiing championships.

She was accepted onto the RAF’s Elite Athlete Scheme and was also selected to join the Great Britain Para-Alpine World Class Programme in the summer of 2021.

Competing in her first Para-Alpine Skiing World Championships in Lillehammer, Norway in January 2022, she won silver and bronze medals before being selected to represent Team GB at the Beijing Winter Paralympics in March 2022, achieving three top-ten results.

In addition to skiing, Shona was named RAF Sportswoman of the Year in 2021 and was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List 2022.

Shona has been an RAF Association Connections for Life volunteer since April 2020, and fulfils her volunteer commitments from wherever in the world she is training or competing.

“For me it’s all very well sending somebody an email, but it’s not the same as speaking to somebody or having that sort of real time interaction. That makes quite a difference,” said Shona.

“If you actually speak to somebody you get reactions and expressions. I don’t know, maybe I’m old fashioned, but to me that makes a big difference.”

Shona spoke about her volunteering experience to MPs, Lords and business leaders at an event at the House of Lords in March 2023.

Corporal Brownlee is also exceptionally proud to have been able to march and play with the RAF Central Band at Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee Pageant and in her funeral procession, and to have taken part in the National Act of Remembrance at the Cenotaph.

On becoming an Ambassador for the RAF Association Shona said: “I was rather surprised and very humbled to be asked. But the RAF Association is doing really valuable work supporting the RAF family and it’s very important to me to do what I can to aid and promote this work.

“I regularly see the need for help across both Serving and veteran personnel and their families and, through my time as a Connections for Life volunteer, I have seen the difference the Association’s work can make. I really want to help make sure that everyone knows about it so it can continue to be recognised and funded, and so that anyone in the RAF family can access the support they need.”

Shona Brownlee pictured in procession with the RAF