Born to run

6th January 2006 at 00:00
(Photograph) - Beatrice Shilling (1909-1990) with her Norton motorcycle in the company's 1935 catalogue. The following year she started work as an engineer at the Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough, where she became a leading specialist in aeroplane carburettors and fine-tuned fighter planes in the Second World War. As a pupil at Dorking high school in the 1920s, she was championed by the Women's Engineering Society and offered an apprenticeship at a power station before reading engineering at Manchester University. Somerset fruit-grower Matthew Freudenberg, who shares Miss Shilling's passions for aviation and motorcycles, has written and published her biography, Negative Gravity: a Life of Beatrice Shilling, pound;13.99.

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