Eileen Collins was something of a conundrum. The kind of steely eyed test pilot astronaut we have become accustomed to meeting but wrapped up in a persona altogether softer and more approachable that endeared her to everybody. Very professional with evident Commander credentials yet remarkably likeable and fun to be around.
In addition to the usual dinner and public lecture Eileen spoke to 2000 students in three schools over two days. From a working class back ground and by her own admission not a particularly high achiever at school, she struck a chord with her younger audiences in particular.
Eileen is a busy lady with fingers in many a pie. She rarely does public events and was surprisingly nervous on occasion but when asked about her visit to Pontefract she confided “I’ve loved every minute of it.”